29 April, 2014 / General

Forever young? No ta…

Fi as a baby 013I turn fifty this year. How did that happen? Half a century! Before I fill in my date of birth on an online form I have to scroll down and down for at least twenty minutes until the correct year (1964) appears. I’ve started running again, and I’m loving it – but only on soft, grassy surfaces, ie, Old Lady Running. But you know what? It’s fine. Heading for 40 was scarier because back then I was far more sensitive about the whole ageing thing. And now I’m pass all that. I don’t care anymore. It’s extremely liberating.

When I was younger I’d be terribly upset at being perceived as middle-aged. For instance, one fine summer’s day a bunch of friends and I took our children to some botanic gardens. I must have been about 36. We were admiring the blooms, bothering no one, when an elderly man stared directly at us and announced loudly, to no one in particular: ‘Women are having children much later these days, aren’t they?’ 

I couldn’t believe it. This man was properly old! He could probably remember the war and rationing and I bet he’d eaten those foods you only find in old-fashioned cookbooks – things like suet and dried egg. My friends and I limped away feeling thoroughly depressed.

Then there was the ‘kids policing my wardrobe’ phase as if, without their intervention, I might accidentally step out in golden hotpants, like Kylie. When in fact I’d merely selected jeans and a bright top, possibly with dangerously short sleeves. These days my teenagers are too preoccupied with their own lives to care what I’m wearing. In the unlikely event that they happened to pass comment, I’d pay no heed – because I am old enough to know what suits me, thanks very much.

That’s what’s so great about heading for fifty: you stop minding about very much at all. Of course I care about my kids’ wellbeing, and their futures, and my husband and our marriage, and my own parents and what will happen as they grow older. My dad is 80 this year. 80!! He sails his boat up and down the west coast of Scotland – he even sailed to Antigua a few years ago. This summer he plans to jaunt down to Liverpool, because sailing into Liverpool (instead of taking a train there) is something he can do. He is a fine example of someone who never worries about things that don’t matter.

Like wrinkles, for instance. When those first lines appear it feels pretty catastrophic. And now I look back and can see that my skin during my thirties was fine – at least, I had yet to acquire geographical faults. Now I have plenty, but what I don’t have is the terrible ashen-ness, and the colossal under-eye luggage that plagues the parent of small children. That’s something to be very happy about.

I have also discovered that going to bed early with my Kindle and a cup of tea is an extremely lovely thing to do.

Yep, I know – just like an old person. Night all! x



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