The trouble with me is, I don’t feel old. I don’t feel middle aged. Hell, in my head I’m not even out of my twenties yet. Sadly, no one told my body to slow down, so there is a huge deficit in years between body and mind.
For my first few posts on this blog I have played around with subjects, introduced myself and been rather genteel in my approach but let’s face it – nice and easy doesn’t make for great reading and anyway, I’ve never been one to shy away from the truth, so hereon in you will get the truth about middle age, warts and all.
The first thing I will say is that getting older sucks. It really does. Don’t be fooled by the lifestyle gurus who tell you it’s the best time of your life. They will strive to convince us that as we age we get more confident (or do we just not give a s**t about people’s opinions of us anymore?), that we are more comfortable with ourselves (or are we just resigned to the fact that this is the body we’ve been given and no amount of Pilates or yoga is going to change things?) and that we have our priorities straight (um, no…we’re just suddenly aware that time is running out and if we have a bucket list we’d better start crossing things off).
Sure, my mind is as active as it always was, I still have a wicked sense of humour and I doubt that will ever change. But physically things are going downhill fast (and I’m not even talking about the breasts which are on a Southerly sprint as we speak and require heavy duty scaffolding to hold them up.)
For instance, I have arthritis. Not in one or two places, but literally everywhere. From head (my jaw is the most northerly region on this pain map), to toe. And let me tell you, for a single woman arthritis is not sexy. That jaw I mentioned? It clicks, and you can imagine how well that goes down (let’s not even go there) during an end-of-date goodnight kiss. When the weather’s bad I have to be rolled out of bed because my back has seized up. I won’t even tell you how badly arthritic hips affect – ahem – exercise.
Then there is eyesight. You suddenly find that you’re holding a page at arm’s length before you can make out the words. In a bank you spend ages with your arm flailing wildly over forms because you’re desperately trying to see the stupidly small line upon which you must scrawl your name. Waiting for a bus you find yourself squinting unattractively to see which number is displayed on the front of it – you know the expression I mean…nose wrinkled up, eyes like a couple of dashes across your face, top lip practically in your nostrils. You’re trying it now aren’t you? Go on…have a go. See? It’s not a good look.
And how, after 47 years of having poker straight hair, did I end up with the curliest of grey strands? And no matter what we do, those suckers will not be tamed. Grey hair looks distinguished on men, on women it just looks…old. And yes, I did try to embrace the natural look. My dark hair stayed flat, and the greys sprung up like broken coils. I was a hybrid of Cleopatra and an ageing Medusa.
Finally, just for good measure, Mother Nature and Father Time conspire to give you middle age spread. This, combined with the abandonment issues that boobs have with gravity, makes it damn near impossible to shave your legs in the bath. When the breast exodus collides with the spare tyre it is like two magnets repelling each other – they jostle for space in the area above your thighs and if you do manage to reach your legs with a razor one would be forgiven for thinking you had been skinny dipping with Sweeney Todd.
On that cheery note, I will go and make my hot cocoa, fill my hot water bottle, and creak my way up to bed. Night night.