As I sit here listening to Pepsi & Shirlie Singing ‘Heartache’ I am full of mixed feelings. Part of me is super smug that I still know all the words 33 years after being released, part of me is harshly reminded that I am racing through life.
1986 feels like yesterday
That’s what old people say!
All the signs are sneaking in though, if you’re not sure where you stand on the scale of life – here’s an A-Z guide.
You know you’re getting old when…
Absentmindedness You forget why you entered a room and have to retrace your steps to try and find the reason again. When trying to attract the attention of a child you go through a list of names until you find the right one or settle on ‘Boy one!’. You ask someone to pass you the thing, the THING, that there – the stabby prongy thing for food! The simplest of words are impossible to remember.
Bladder Male or female, young or old, parent or not. Whether we can no longer laugh, jump and dance or we find ourselves peeing at 2:30am every day – our bladder will serve to remind us that we are no longer youthful. Be it your prostate or your pelvic floor, this marks your journey toward old age!
Comfortable Clothes Gone are the days of corsets and high waisted pencil skirts. It’s time to start dressing for comfort. We may try and maintain an air of glamour but comfort will win every time. Unfortunately, comfort comes at a price and it’s generally a bit Cotton Trader. Personally I have created a three phase day. Phase 1 is my human form, the clothes I wear during the day – clothes I like the look of. Phase 2 are the drab yet comfortable clothes, I’d rather not be seen in public wearing that but if there was an unexpected knock at the door I wouldn’t feel entirely mortified. Phase 3 – well, no one needs to see that…
Duckface Those of us of a certain age know Duckface as the woman Hugh Grant jilts at the altar in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Now it seems to be the look the young of today are aiming for in their oh-so-natural selfies. Titter ye not, its all a bit Frankie.
Eyebrows Who would have thought eyebrows changed with age? I like a decent brow (not a monobrow) I have never been one to pluck any more than a tidy around the edges. I certainly never punished my face with those ’90s surprise’ eyebrows – yet here I find myself twenty odd years later, colouring in my unpunished yet drastically thinning eyebrows. They go grey too, what’s that about?
Furnishings You know you’re getting old when you find yourself inexplicably drawn to throws and blankets despite having no where to put them and no actual need for them. I leave IKEA believing that my bed is inferior as it doesn’t have eight scatter cushions. It is virtually impossible for me to walk past a throw cushion display without stroking at least one and I’m pretty sure that I need a tapestry Stag cushion maybe with a matching rug.
Grey Hairs There are times when I spray dry shampoo on my hair and think ‘If my hair went grey like that at the front I would look totally distinguished, like an Arts Professor’, then I remember I am a natural blonde and that is not going to be the case at all. I wondered if I would go grey at all or if I’d realise. It turns out grey hairs are wily things and grow at about 100 times faster than regular hairs – at least that’s what the one I found the other day would suggest.
Hot Flushes You know you’re getting old when you wake up at 3am every day with the feeling that your actual soul is on fire and trying to escape your body. It took me a while to realise is was hot flushes, initially I would wake in a panic that the house was on fire. The only logical explanation for such intense heat!
Intolerance You put up with so much crap when younger for fear of offending someone. As we get older we become less tolerant, and realise, those people we’re worried about offending aren’t actually worth it. Whether it’s bitching, bullying, ignorant comments – there comes a point with age where you realise you don’t HAVE to put up with it and you are actually quite happy to vocalise this. It probably comes with being more comfortable and confident in yourself, it’s just a shame we’re not like that earlier in life.
Juniper Mother’s Ruin! Gin is something I couldn’t abide in my younger days but as time has gone on and my tastes have changed (yes, taste buds ALSO change with age) I find myself actually quite fond of a G & T with ice and a slice of orange. I can’t be doing with all these fancy flavours, I just like a nice Whitley Neill original and slimline tonic.
Kids No, I don’t mean becoming parents, aunts or uncles – I mean next level adulting. Becoming Grandparents, Great Aunts & Uncles. I SHIT YOU NOT, people I went to school with are now grandparents. GRANDPARENTS! If that’s not a sure sign you’re getting old then I don’t know what is!
Lotions I have creams to firm my wobbly bits, make my skin glow, tighten may face and neck. I have lotions to remove my chicken skin, firm my bingo wings and make my cleavage shine. I own serums made of the fragile skins of some exotic almost extinct creature to make me look twenty years younger…none of it works. I still look 40 and despite moisturising daily, I appear to be turning into a lizard.
Music It’s just not the same these days is it? Back in the day songs had a narrative, generally creating a false impression of love or heartache. Providing unattainable ideas about how simple it was to fall in love with a handsome man in a teen magazine – Morten Harket, I’m looking at you. Nowadays, thanks to auto tune, apparently there is no great need to be able to hold a tune or play an instrument – you know you’re getting old when you declare it ‘Noise’.
New Fangled This roughly translates as ‘anything I don’t understand’ and is mostly used to refer to technology. Despite having made the transition from VCR to DVD, from cassette to CD, and from Teletext to the Internet, I find myself at a point where my brain is full and can’t keep up with all the changes in technology and I certainly can’t fix it. This is probably why I also find modern music so difficult – because I don’t even know how to access it any more!
Out Out Those heady days – prinks in the house. A bottle of vodka seen off before heading out at 10pm, dancing the night away then being found sleeping on your boyfriend’s doorstep at 4am. Nowadays, a night out involves meeting early, having every intention of painting the town red. Instead we find ourselves at a shade of dark pink, realise it’s almost 11pm and head home.
Periods We spend so much time trying to regulate and monitor our cycles. Feeling pretty smug when we manage to make social events sync with our menstrual cycle. Suddenly, as the years go by, we realise that those pesky periods are showing up as and when they please. There is no counting days or working out moons. It will arrive, stay as long as it chooses then leave. Heck it may do that twice in a month if it wants…or not at all. You know you’re getting old when your period becomes a law unto itself.
Qualified Professionals Remember when Doctors, nurses, teachers, dentists and police officers were proper adults who instilled a lot of respect and maybe a little fear into us. Today, well, they are all so YOUNG. Don’t get me wrong, I still hugely respect them but I find it difficult to explain my ills to them. Picture the scene, I am six months post baby, my internal organs are trying to leave my body via my vagina and I have finally bitten the bullet and visited the Dr. I arrive at the hospital to be confronted by a twenty something year old man and his (what appeared to be) 15 year old student. Rather than be examined by the youngsters, I told them I was just fine and bid a hasty retreat!
Repetition Last year was a big year for me, I got married and I turned forty – did I tell you I turned forty? More and more I realise I am talking to someone and they have this look on their face, I’ve told them this before – I am once again repeating myself. Depending on how much I want to annoy that person I will either carry on telling that same, probably dull, tale or stop myself and apologise. I mostly carry on.
Sleep I used to like to burn the midnight oil, I would stay up late watching films or reading books yet still manage to get up in time for work without complaint. Now I can’t abide the thought of being awake at midnight, I start to feel twitchy if I’m not near my bed by 10pm and even after a solid eight hours sleep I am exhausted. It appears that as one gets older, there is no such thing as ‘enough sleep’.
Tutting This one goes hand in hand with intolerance. Sometimes I just can’t help but audibly TUT when someone is being, well, a knob head. I used to hide it but with age the mask slips and I find myself tutting and eye rolling aloud. There is apparently no hiding my disdain anymore.
Underwear Thongs are an infection waiting to happen and those fine lace bras offer no support whatsoever! Don’t get me wrong, I still like pretty underwear but my pants have gotten big and my bras more structured. Think body scaffolding – anything to make it look like my boobs hang out at the front where they belong
Vision All the cool kids wear glasses. I’ve worn mine since I was in my twenties and I have no problem with that at all. Recently, I realised that working on a computer all day was playing merry hell with my eyes and so went for a check. The wonderful optician (who was about 17) did all the checks and then looked at me in a very sympathetic way. It seems that your eyesight has changed a little, it happens as we get…older. Have you considered bifocals or varifocals?
NO BECAUSE I AM NOT A PENSIONER! I AM QUITE OK TO PUT MY GLASSES ON MY HEAD AND SQUINT A BIT WHEN CHECKING MY PHONE OR READING A BOOK THANKYOUVERYMUCH.
Weight Even in my youth I was ‘festively plump’ I have endured it for years and come to realise I will probably never be slim. Actually, there was a few years when, I’m not going to lie, I looked GOOD. Unfortunately, I was on the kind of ‘diet’ social services would disapprove of and so it’s not a viable option anymore. One blessing of youth is the ability to shift a few pounds if you REALLY want to, then one day it stops. You can take your calorie intake down to 1000 for a few days and NOTHING. It stays. Age GLUES the weight to you.
Expectations Whether it’s your expectations of others or yourself you get to a point in life where you realise you need to lower your expectations to avoid disappointment.
You didn’t REALLY think I’d find an X, Y and Z did you?