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Getting On

I remember going into work one day and noticing that a colleague, who was in her fifties, suddenly looked old.  Her face just seemed to fall overnight and I was horrified how quickly age seemed to strike.

Since then, I have been waiting for the day that it happens to me and every so often I think it has.  For much of last week, for example, I just slobbed around in my pyjamas as I was helping my son with his final exam and spending a lot of time writing my book.  Pure luxury but on the Friday, I caught sight of myself in the mirror and I looked terrible.  Days of not brushing my hair, no moisturiser and no bra and the effect was truly quite frightening. 

I looked really old. 

Fortunately, on Sunday when we went out, I dressed up and put the slap on and looked OK again.  In fact, my husband whispered that I looked quite “sexy” !  I think though, he must just have been relieved to find out that I haven’t quite descended into permanent old hag status quite yet !! 

The thing is, one of these days, the make up won’t help, and I will suddenly just be an old woman and that thought is quite depressing.  I’m not ready yet.  I still feel about 25 in my head and I find it quite annoying that what I see in the mirror doesn’t reflect that. People used to be quite shocked when they heard how old I was but I’ve noticed recently that’s not the case any more, which is a bit of a slap in the face!

Birthdays for me are no longer any fun.  I used to love the cards, the presents, the attention….. nowadays, not so much !!  Birthdays represent another year gone. Another year possibly wasted. Further proof that I am no longer young. Increased pressure to admit that I am NOT actually 39 but in fact, nearer ff..fi..fif…fifty ! No ! Birthdays now, mean increased angst and mental torture! 

I’ve got to that stage now, where I can’t look at another woman without trying to calculate her age and then work out how she’s doing in the race against time. I admit to feeling slightly triumphant at the stupid ones who try (but fail) not to look their age but slightly put out at the ones who look good. 

My mother looks great but that’s because she has simply accepted that she is nearly seventy and behaves accordingly.  Maybe that’s the trick. To stop being so shallow and just accept where you are in life and get on with it.

But if that’s the case, look at Helen Mirren.  She’s in her mid-sixties and looks fab. Jane Fonda is in her seventies, and still wearing strapless dresses

Mind you, the hands are always a giveaway….

Oh, I don’t know.  I’m giving this way too much importance but I looked really quite lovely once and I don’t like the fact that I have become….well, a portly woman approaching her fifties.  I don’t like that my age has made me invisible!

A few weeks ago when the sun came out for a bit, I took my little white skirt out of the wardrobe.  I love it as it is comes to just above the knee and is very flattering. I felt very cute as I looked at myself in the mirror but then my children questioned if I was really going to wear that out as wasn’t it “ too short for someone your age” !!!???!!!

I looked back in the mirror and saw a fool. What’s worse, an old fool trying to look young ! 

It’s in the charity bag now.

The thing is, I really want to take it back out. My legs are still OK – fatter knees than I would like and maybe a bit puffy round the ankles at times – but they are quite long from the knee to the ankle which gives the impression that I’m showing a lot of leg when I wear a shorter skirt but actually I’m not! It’s not as if I wear miniskirts like my daughter that barely cover her pert little bottom. Maybe though, at my age, shorter flirty skirts are quite simply a no-no.

I don’t want to dress like my mother or my daughter but I don’t quite know what to wear now. I shop in mumsy places like Wallis and Monsoon and Marks which cater for my increasing weight and I’m careful to buy things that I think are “elegantly” timeless and not fashionable.  Even if I was a size 12, I wouldn’t want to dress like all the youngsters, as bizarrely it has the effect of adding on decades. Teenage clothes don’t make older women look sexy – they just make you look old. Even I know that much.  The women who look great are the ones who dress in the way that’s best for them and I seem to have lost the knack of how to do that.  Deep down, I know that it’s not OK to wear a mini-skirt. But goddammit, the skirt in the charity bag isn’t a miniskirt, just slightly shorter than I normally wear.

Oh bugger it! I’m off to rescue that skirt and whatsmore when the sun returns,  I’m going to wear it again, and again….and again!!! So there.

If I’m going to do this getting old thing, I might as well do it disgracefully!


10 thoughts on “Getting On

  1. Like you, people used to think I was way younger than I was, but that has stopped for me too. I recently had to quit dying my hair because I got so allergic to the dyes so I am slowly going grey. I am 63 now and decided I may as well look it. It is hard not to buy frilly blouses etc. that are made for young people. I definitely do not dress like my mother (85) though. I’ve never liked her style – very old fashioned.

    I’ve gained weight too because I got sick and couldn’t exercise any longer. So, old, grey and fat. Yep, I want everyone to know I am 63!

  2. I do so hope you rescued that skirt–and promptly take it on an adventure! Yes, there are women who try to dress young, but I’m a firm believer that they do not possess a filter of any sort. The fact that they are trying to look like the young girls (and shouldn’t), does not even flitter across their minds. So as long as you’re thinking about it, you’re safe . . . pretty sure! 🙂

  3. I say wear the skirt and screw what others say. If you can still pull it off, you gotta flaunt what you got. I’m really glad that you blogged about this because, although there’s an age gap between us, I’m turning 30 this year and am starting to feel / look my age. I think I also, in my head, think I’m 25 but it’s stranger because I feel like that’s even less permissible behavior than yours. I’m not going to type a novel in the comment section of your post but suffice it to say, there are certain roles I think I’m supposed to start playing in life and at almost-30, I’m not. So there are those raised eyebrows and questioning looks. Sigh, I suppose one can get those at any age

  4. Be disgraceful. YOu owe it to yourself and damn what anyone else says. Get out that short white skirt and be the person you choose to be. Much about age is choice, I have learned.

  5. I say wear whatever the hell you want. You’re smart enough to know what looks good on you and if you want to wear something a little short then compensate with something more modest on top and you’re good!

  6. I definitely say: wear it!

    While I’d agree that there are limits on what is age appropriate, mostly clothes should make us feel good about ourselves and makes us happy!

  7. Good on you! I wish I still would be able to do that. I hardly get the pounds of anymore which used to be easy one day. I find shopping not as much fun anymore because there are lots of things I can’t wear or which are not in my size. I don’t look at fashion but I know exactly what I want or don’t
    I do like getting older though as I feel more relaxed and confident and insightful

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