Yesterday I revealed my age to someone. I did it in that smug, smirking way when you are confident that the listener will reply “Wow! Gosh no way are you [insert age], you look about [insert age]!”
But he didn’t say anything – just nodded as the smirk slowly slid off my sad old wrinkled face.
And as it sank in that perhaps I did indeed look my age, I started to feel furious. Full of mad boiling rage. Not towards the strap of a lad who forgot to pay me a compliment, but towards myself and towards society. Why should I cower and hide from my ever increasing age? Why?
Next week I will be 42. I’ll say that again louder, 42. No exclamation marks, no mumbling – I am going to embrace getting older. I don’t believe aging (particularly of the female variety) is something disturbing, shameful or secret. Getting old is the most wonderful gift that Mother Nature gave us.
Why should I expect anyone to be surprised when I tell them my age? What does 42 look like? Per Una and Polygrip? Hot flushes and botox? Princess Anne?
Women in the media are constantly berated for looking their age and praised for avoiding it (think Nigella, Helen Mirren and the ever-ageless Jennifer Aniston). But I don’t want to look like a puffed, polished version of my younger self. I want to look like my old self, me right now.
So I am going to turn the tide on this demonising of my advancing years. I am going to use it to my advantage. I will call everyone ‘darling’, without sounding like a tw*t from Made in Chelsea. I will not cover up my grey hairs. I will celebrate the fact that my body is experimenting with something new, and that grey is the colour du jour.
It’s easy to look back on our youth with a warm vintage filter, but really my younger days were a murky passageway where I taught myself to drink gin, flirt and be independent (sometimes all at the same time). My limp lettuce salad days.
How much nicer then to be in my forties. To be comfortable in myself. To know what suits me and what doesn’t. To have firm friendships cemented over the years. To have had experiences and to be wiser because of them. And to be able to sip gin without grimacing. My sharp snappy watercress days.
So I refuse to be coy about my age. I will own it. I will not erase my wrinkles or dye my hair. I am middle-aged and I am proud.
It’s time to grow up, darlings!
By Kim (aged 41 years and 348 days)
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