This ageing gig. Gosh, is there anyone in the history of humankind who has found growing old easy?
Freddie Mercury once sang Who Wants to Live Forever? I do Freddie, I want to live forever. I write this days away from my XXth birthday. That’s what I’m calling it from now on, XX. (Remember that.) Yes, I’ve arrived at the point I never understood when I was young and said I’d never arrive at (surprise surprise): not wanting to disclose my age. More on that shortly. Let’s just say I’m old enough to have seen many a trend come into fashion, go out of fashion and come back in again at least twice.
Now, we’re all different. I’m sure there are those who aren’t bothered about growing old
In fact, some people are able to laugh about ageing like the lovely Laura of Five Litttle Doves (although if I was still only thirty-frickin-six, I’d be laughing too). So maybe it’s misguided and presumptuous of me to describe the following list as things you should know about growing old because you may not agree. I just thought I’d let you know what I’ve experienced as it may serve as a warning of what’s about to come (if you’re younger than me). Equally, it might reassure you that you’re not alone (if you’re older than me)! So, read it and weep. No, learn. I meant read it and learn…
1. THERE WILL COME A POINT WHERE YOUR HEART SINKS UPON RECEIVING A 40TH BIRTHDAY INVITE.
The last few years when I’ve been invited to a 40th bash, I’ve thought “bless…just a baby’. Now I just want to burn the damned invite and pour myself a double vodka.
2. ALL THE WORDS BECOME SMALL!
ALL of them. I’m having to hold everything (shampoo bottles, appliance manuals, pasta packets, cinema tickets etc) at arm’s length, so the words aren’t blurred and that’s with my glasses on/lenses in. And now poor Hubster’s sight is failing. If someone were to watch us trying to read…well…pretty much anything, they’d die laughing. Our kids get quite a comedy show as their parents pass games instructions etc between one another, in exasperated defeat. The blind leading the blind, honestly.
3. YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD FOR COFFEE TEQUILA SHOTS
until you actually do coffee tequila shots. My Saturday night girls are mainly way younger than me and are quite partial to them and I do love them so…when in Rome…) Sadly coffee tequila shots don’t love me and have no qualms about reminding me the next day. And the day after that…
4. YOU USED TO GET EXCITED ABOUT PURCHASES
such as handbags, jewellery, shoes… NOW, you get excited about ‘just the right size’ thermos flasks and the perfect number of cup accessories for your weekend hikes. Don’t laugh! I’ve been hanging out at playgrounds and after-school activities for years with rubbish ones that have no handle/aren’t the right size. Then as luck would have it, I found this the other week for barely half the cost of others. Look…the best bit: it’s got two cups, TWO I tell you! Do you understand how handy this is for weekend hikes?!
5. YOU’LL HAVE A ‘MOMENT OF REALISATION’ ABOUT PEOPLE KNOWING YOUR AGE
I’m usually the eldest amongst my friends. As the years have gone by, I’ve started feeling like a museum exhibit that gets rolled out for people to admire. Don’t get me wrong; I understand it’s flattering, to an extent. But sometimes it’s uncomfortable, especially when a friend mentions I’m almost as old as their mum (and calls me granny). I’m not sure exactly when I started thinking I’d rather people didn’t know my age but something happened recently that confirmed I really don’t! I was dining with some relatives, one of whom likes telling people my age. (I get it, she’s ‘proud’ I look younger than my age and the intention is sweet.) A guy from the next table joined us and an interesting (if embarrassing) thing happened. My relative asked him to guess our ages. My heart sank: Here we go again. He guessed theirs, looked at me and said “You’re 26”. (Funny guy.) I thanked him: “That’s lovely but we both know I’m not 26. Now, how old do you really think I am? I don’t mind”. Well you have to be game, right? I must admit I kind of felt sorry for him. He must have thought I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t tell the truth here. I’ll offend her either way. This is the interesting bit: after paying me a compliment, he said “Ok, I really think you’re 36”. Here comes the embarrassing bit: my relative practically spat her prosecco out shrieking “She’s XX!!”
6. YOU USED TO BE ALL ABOUT THE LATEST RESTAURANT OPENINGS AND COOLEST CLUBS.
Now your idea of a fun time is reorganising your household storage.
INSERT PIC OF SHOE ROOM
7. YOU LEARN TO CONFRONT THE BODY IMAGE DEMONS.
Despite still being blessed with what’s ‘conventionally’ regarded as a slim figure, my natural shape tends towards pear-shaped and I’m now actually wider than I’ve been in over twenty years (pregnancies aside). My friends literally scoff when I say this but there are genuinely items of clothing that don’t go on as easily as they used to; I can still get into them but the buttons and zips are none too happy about the extra work required to make this happen. It doesn’t help that I seriously struggle fixing an exercise schedule that fits with the madness of kids/house/blog/life in general. I know I’ll never return to my gym-sculpted younger self and actually I’m not heartbroken over it! I’ve surprised myself with how fine I am with having a bit more ‘meat’ on me, maybe because I don’t feel the same pressure to be svelte that I felt in my twenties. And I do think not having full length mirrors in our house helps…
8. YOU BECOME…ERM…VERY ‘PRACTICAL’ ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS.
Such as going for an eye test and taking your existing glasses with you because all you need are new lenses…there’s nothing wrong with the frames…they were great twelve years ago and they’ll do just fine now! OLD PERSON behaviour I tell you. So is this:
9. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW OLD YOU GET, SOME THINGS WILL NEVER CHANGE.
– I think I’ll always cringe at the sight of Mariah Carey spilling out of a boob tube whilst
– I’ll never be able to watch reruns of Glee because I have a similar reaction to Lea Michele doing anything. Sorry but it’s impossible to like everyone.
– I can’t help laughing when someone falls over (unless it’s me, ahem) and yes I know it’s unkind and juvenile and I don’t do it in front of them. Hey, I don’t do drugs or cheat on my husband so allow me this one vice.
10. THE ONLY WOLF WHISTLES YOU GET ARE FROM WORKERS WARNING YOU NOT TO WALK INTO THE SCAFFOLDING. (Female readers!)
[Deep breath]. I may incite uproar and judgement with this but I’ll never forget when I first realised that my age was making me invisible. I was 34 and visiting friends in Paris where I used to live. As I stood on a pavement waiting to cross Rue de Rivoli, it struck me that something was different from my visit three years before. It took me a minute and then it hit me: nobody was hooting anymore! Men were no longer leaning out of their car windows calling me or walking past me on the street saying a sleazy ‘bonjour’, daily behaviour (harrassment) I’d experienced when I used to live there. Part of me was happy to say goodbye to that degrading nonsense that used to make me dread walking into a cafe on my own but part of me was (dare I set feminism back decades by saying it) erm…how do I put this…wistful. Shut the front door!! Say what now? Yes I hated that chauvinist treatment when I lived in Paris in my twenties but standing on that street corner, as a visitor in my thirties, it hit me that the attention had ground to a halt because I no longer looked ‘young enough’ to attract it, translation: young enough to be harrassed. [Mental note to self: write blog post on how ageing is a godsend.]
11. YOU EVENTUALLY HAVE TO SAY ‘SO LONG, FAREWELL’ TO COLLAGEN.
Yes folks, let’s observe a minute’s silence over the sad passing of that miracle ingredient that made me/you look youthful. I no longer get mistaken for someone in their twenties (the story in point 5 doesn’t count) and on bad days not even someone in their thirties. Makeup doesn’t work the magic it used to, there is no skincare on earth that can bring the plump firmness back (no matter what all those Loréal ads say) and a hollow slackness has appeared on that face in the mirror. But worst of all, the eyelids drop! The face sagging: I get that. The tummy wrecked to holy hell by three pregnancies and births: logical. But my eyelids dropping? What kind of sick joke is that? I look like I’m permanently asleep. I have friends battling serious illness and problems of my own more serious than The Mystery of the Vanishing Collagen and Droopy Eyelids so I know this could seem insensitive and self-absorbed. But our issues are our issues and frankly, it takes the wind out of my sails seeing myself age. (I said I was trying to confront the body image demons; the face doesn’t count, ahem.)
12. LIFE’S ALL ABOUT STAGES AND I’VE REACHED THE NEXT ONE
As I sit here writing at my ‘cafe office’, there are two young mothers in that follow-the-toddler-around-before-they-run-out-to-the-road-or-destroy the place stage, unable to sit down and drink their coffee before it’s cold. Each summer, I see mothers struggling onto the beach with a hundred bits of equipment, babe in arms. I see women pushing buggies loaded with paraphernalia. And I can’t help thinking ‘Gosh I’m so happy I’m way past that stage now’. When I met my dolly of a niece, I found myself saying things like “Mine used to do that when they were little”. I felt like a veteran mother (let me be a veteran at something okay?) yet friends with older kids say to me “I’m glad I’m out of your stage…your kids are still so young.” At least I get to drink my coffee while it’s still hot, well, lukewarm. See? All relative…
13. I’M PAINFULLY AWARE OF MY MORTALITY AND BY PAINFULLY AWARE I MEAN TERRIFIED OF DEATH’
So very much I could say…
Friends who shouldn’t have died so young.
People battling illness.
So many people who have lost their parents.
People who unexpectedly lost their partners.
The crap that’s in our food no matter how hard you try to eat healthily.
The cancer cells in our body that might be just waiting to gang up and leash their worst.
I’m aware of it every day.
Since publishing this post, it’s been brought to my attention that I didn’t mention memory loss as a major symptom of ageing. I would have included it but…I forgot!
I have to start by saying… I love Lea Michele!! She’s awesome! I also love Lena Dunham, who I know you also dislike…!! Just had to throw that in there!! Anyhoo, ageing… I love your end sentiment, that at least you are still here-and I think that’s something that everyone should remember-you can still be p***ed about getting old, but like you say-there’s a lot of people who don’t make it there… I’m already quite old womanish-I love my checkered pjs, and a wool blanket, and the thought of going out and doing shots makes me vommy just thinking about it. Love the flask too!!
Lol no idea how you knew about the Lena Dunham thing. Spooky.
I LOVE this, and I can relate to all of it, although I have three more years before forty and I am clinging on to every last bit of my thirties!! I feel old when I hear other people give their date of birth and it’s in the 2000’s….and they are practically a fully grown adult!! It freaks me out getting old, especially the thought of losing my parents, friends, or myself, but I am grateful to get older, so many people really don’t have that privilege do they? Fab post, and you my lovely will always be fabulous!!
Thanks my lovely. I came across a great quote about the privilege bit actually.
True this. I may be old, but it’s better than the alternative! 😉 Thank you for a much needed laugh
Well, I turned to my Mum yesterday and said “You know what depresses me about getting old” She eye rolled. Hard. “How your foundation seeps into your crows feet”. Yesterday I noticed that my make up now disappears amongst my crows feet and I actually wanted to cry.
Great post as usual love #bigpinklink
I’m not surprised she rolled her eyes. What crow’s feet?!
Starting to feel old has hit me at the same time as empty nesting with my youngest heading off to uni BUT I’m treating the empty nest as an opportunity to get out and do things before I get TOO old. Hopefully I’ve a few years before I need to consider a life of day time TV
A life of day time TV. Oh my goodness that struck home and reminds me of my dad. Thanks for reading.
Oh Prabs I have just hit the big 50 and over a long weekend I partied so hard my teens would have been proud! So ageing can be fun but I hate too that I can’t see to read without glasses anymore, my waist is 4 inches bigger and it takes me two weeks to recover from a party! I have no idea how old you are but you look fabulous. Please come and join our new linky TweensTeensBeyond – this is definitely a “Beyond” post! #coolmumclub
Ah you are definitely a cool 50 year old Jo! I read your post about being towards 50. Inspiring.
AH Prabs this is so funny but also full of heart! We all should be happy to be here each year, life is precious! I had to laugh at the walking past a restroom & going while you are there – I do that too! It’s partially the kids fault but it’s become habit now. You do look quite young darling so own it. 🙂 xx
“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many”. Fab read Prabs! x #CandidCuddles
That is gorgeous Madeline! What a great quote. Thank you.
I’m 53 in May. It horrifies me somewhat but I think of a friend’s mum who died of breast cancer aged 48 or my gran who died of bowel cancer aged just 60 and I think bugger it. The only alternative to ageing is death. There has never been a more positive time to get old – look at all the fashionistas (80 / 90 and older) smashing it on Instagram. It’s dreadful when I read posts from women who serious think over 30 is old. I had my kids in my forties. I have to stay alive to see them into a decent old age. Pass the wine.
I agree re the over 30 thing. Bonkers.
And she’s back! A Prabs classic. Loved this babe. But seriously….coffee tequila shots? You’re mental! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub xoxo
aww that made me smile thanks
Ha! This is hilarious. I’m not too old, but my spirit definitely is. Now you must tell me, where did you find that flask?! #coolmumclub
the flask turned out to be crap!
I always say ageing is better than the alternative! I try to be grateful (whilst pulling out the grey hairs 🙂 and applying face cream) and enjoy every minute with my children (except when they point out my wrinkles!) #candidcuddles
You are looking beaut chick! And I love this post – relatable but funny too! xxx #candidcuddles
I am so glad to still be here, each year I am older and I do look at myself and think I wish I looked a bit younger, but after nearly not being here to see my children grow up I am so thankful I am, and if that means stopping to pee every time I see a toilet then I’ll just deal with that. Awesome post! #candidcuddles
gosh I didn’t know you had been ill. sobering thought.
ahh I can so relate to all of this. Ageing is rubbish sometimes but it also has it’s benefits, it does have benefits doesn’t it? I can’t really remember right now what they are. I’m definitely jumping on your bandwagon though, I’m going to be XX from now on too. Although in Roman numerals that makes me 20 I guess I could be LII instead, but that makes me sound older. Ok I’ll shut up now, I’m rambling, I tend to do that a lot, a bit like my gran used to…oh dear!
What a hilarious comment. I’m still trying to work out what the benefits are to be honest. And rambling on…is a symptom of old age I’m afraid! Thanks so much for joining #candidcuddles
Hahahaha, this post is hilarious, more so because it’s so relatable… the white hairs, the can’t read the writing and that quote about pee-ing, laughed out loud there! But hey, you look FAB at XX… serious!
Awww thank you
I love these! They are all so true and while ageing doesn’t bother me, the Hubster is frantic about it! #CandidCuddles
Gosh ! No way ! You’re XX ? You don’t look it Prabs, seriously you don’t.
Looking at your exotic pics, I always assumed you’re way younger than me. Now, I know, and secretly very happy that I can attend your University Of Life ( Your Blog ) and prance around, laugh, learn and generally be a twat without feeling OLD.
Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for touching me ( my heart )
And thank you for being older than me X
lol prance away mate. Thanks for the wonderful comment as usual. And I’m glad I made you so happy for being younger…you’re welcome 🙂
Now imagine what it’s like to be an older mum – you get all the crap of being old and all the crap of having super demanding little kids too! But hey ho, them’s the breaks and it wasn’t going to happen any earlier in my life. I remember when I was 34 I was on holiday in Australia on one of those Trek Australia tours with a bunch of other ‘young’ people. There were two girls in their early/mid 20s and I spent that whole holiday feeling *so* old – especially when we went to bars/clubs and they got *all* the attention. I hate the massive great dent that seems to have formed in the middle of my forehead. But on the whole I think you just have to try and downplay the negatives and latch onto the good bits of ageing – write a ‘good bits’ post!! Thanks for linking up this week Prabs X #thetruthabout
ha ha the good bits are summed up at the end: health is everything really. Thanks for reading Sam x
Hey lovely. And boy look at you in that last shot…LOVELY, aged XX or not!
Posts like this are why I love your blog. Funny. Warm. Truthful. Thought provoking. Filled with booze and coffee references (this time, together in a shot).
Let’s grow old disgracefully…I know I fully intend to 🙂
#coolmumclub loves Absolutely Prabulous – thanks for linking!
Oh my blog friend…and comments like yours are why I love writing! Thank you so much. Blushing. #coolmumclub rocks x
OOh my PC is much more chilled about letting me comment on your blog than my phone! 🙂 I’m 37 this year and a lot of your points already hit a nerve!! EVERYTHING is smaller (and blurry!) – no longer can I get away with not wearing my specs, unless I want to end up with a banging headache. Wrinkles have well and truly made themselves at home on my once youthful, collagen plumped face. Everything is soft. White eyebrow hair (what the??) I could go on but let’s not dwell right? On the flip side, having 2 beautiful little people bumbling around my feet has put all the above and more into perspective. It’s hard, particularly as a woman I think, to surrender the things of youth but ironically, now in my late 30s I am much more confident, appreciative, accepting, understanding, empathetic, adventurous and conscious of how important it is to live the best life we can, while we can. The Oscar Wilde quote ‘Youth is wasted on the young’ is so true, I wish I could go back in time and tell the teenaged me to be nicer to my Mum, or the 20-something me to stop beating myself up about the size of my thighs!
That is one beautiful comment. Nuff said.
Love this post and for some reason the flask really hit home #bloggerclubuk
It’s so funny HOW many people love the flask. We’re all old I tell you!
Aaah, you are so beautiful Prabs!! I know the whole ageing thing must be hard, despite how many times you tell yourself you have to be ok with it because you’re lucky to be getting older! I still don’t feel like I’m there yet, so have to admit it’s not something I’ve given too much thought to!! We are having the huge spate of 40ths at the moment, as my husband and all his friends are turning 40 at the same time. But I’m nearly 10 years younger than him so….!!!!! I know you said that no skincare will change the way your skin looks, but the clarins anti ageing stuff is awesome!! funny and thought provoking post-I was never whistled at, but if I had always been, and then it stopped, I’d be a bit p****d too!!!
awww thanks love. you’re a baby lol.
Great post, I’ve just turned 30, the grey hairs are sprouting and I now spend my weekends at DIY stores.
ah thank you. Yes I think 30 is the DIY age. I bought my first power drill and became obsessed with DIY aged 30. (Grew out of it luckily 🙂 )
What a funny post. What’s wrong with 60th birthday party invites. I love tidy cupboards. I love small words. I love thermos flasks – and a matching lunchbox, my body image demons are just changing. I used to worry about my plump thighs now I worry about my saggy breasts and wrinkles. Its all fine though – they are ‘smile lines’ really and as you get older you get wiser right? or maybe wrong.
Ha haa that’s the spirit! 60th birthday invites. Oh God. Yep…
LOVE this post! But firstly you have a cafe office, you are living the dream 😉 I am looking forward to this when my youngest goes to nursery. Like you I hate ageing, I don’t divulge my age and I don’t feel as old as I look (where do those wrinkles keep springing up from) but I am grateful that I am still here and rolling, especially when I watch friends battling serious illness.
Lol did I tell you the cafe office has a view? 🙂 Well thankfully (apparently) I don’t look as old as I feel so other way around but yes…health is everything. Glad you enjoyed the post.
This post made me laugh. I read it not because I’m worried about ageing (I’m 24) but because I saw in the linky it was by you and I love your blog :). It’s nice to know what I’ve got to look forward to though..!xx #BloggerClubUK
Oh. My. Goodness. 24?! I could barely tie my own laces at that age! Well…ok I did move to Paris at that age knowing absolutely nobody there… Thanks for the blog comment. That’s such a nice thing to say. Feel the same way about yours xx
That’s fab 🙂 And so true, but getting older is way better than the alternative! Thanks for the laugh
If the alternative’s to get younger, I wouldn’t mind. Glad you liked it.
I have that flask! It is awesome!
Happy xxth birthday, by the way. That’s 20 in Latin, don’t forget.
ha haaaa fab! Why didn’t I think of that? Using that from now on.
Ahhh Prabbers, I loved every minute of reading this post. I am not just saying this but I swear that I thought you were just a bit older then me! I used to think people my age were ‘ancient’ as a teen, and now I’m here myself, invisible to anyone under 20, I don’t care a bit! I don’t feel old at all!! We spent yesterday sorting out the playroom and felt amazing and I’m on an unending quest for the perfect water bottle so I understand your flask joy totally! Thanks so much for linking up with us again. #bigpinklink
Bless you, thanks. I must admit if I hadn’t written the post, nobody would have been any the wiser. The age thing is mainly in the mind… Thanks for reading and hosting #BigPinkLink
I discovered your blog today and I really like it. I am 34 this year and the thing that has hit me hardest about getting older (other than those pesky greys appearing) is the realisation that you will never get that past month/year back. When you are younger you can take time for granted but as you get older you realise that you do have to take risks and seize opportunities when they come along. Which is hard if you are not a risk taker like me!
Yep…you’ll never be as young as the age you are so you may as well be happy!! Glad you like the blog. Hope to ‘see’ you again.
Haha Brilliant. I aged about ten years today and Im showing all these signs already. What i would do for just one innapropriate wolf whistle *sighs* #FridayFrolics
Oh dear I hope you didn’t age 10 years today getting stressed reading this post! Lol the wolf whistle thing; no wonder men can’t work us out. We think it’s degrading that they do it but then miss it when they don’t! If we ever meet, I’ll give you a wolf whistle. Thanks for reading xx
Firstly – you are gorgeous! Secondly – I already go to the toilet pretty much whenever I walk past one, and find things like flasks exciting – I’m 26!! Is there no hope for me? Am I massively old before my time?! Thirdly – coffee tequila shots are bloody brilliant. #Fridayfrolics
Thanks for the lovely comment. But I think I’ve just lost the ability to speak. 26?! TWENTY SIX?! When I regain my ability to form a coherent sentence I’ll be in touch 🙂
Hahaha this really made me laugh (and thanks for the link back!). So very funny and I’m sure many will relate – at 36 I already can!! You look amazing though, if growing old means looking like you then bring it on! Xx
That’s a lovely thing to say Laura. You can talk! Gorgeous woman!! I find only going out in dim lighting and wearing sunglasses ALL the time helps 🙂