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!