Monday, 20 June 2011

The Ageing Process and why I can live with it (I think)

I seem to be spending an awful lot of time celebrating other people's significant birthdays recently. I have been to no fewer than five 50th birthday parties in the last two months alone but I suppose it's just reflective of our time of life.

It doesn't seem to be more than a couple of years since we had a run on weddings and new babies. Now we are getting to know new partners and celebrating those babies getting university places, careers or simply just growing up. So the 40th and 50th birthday party is just another rite of passage. But to my mind there is something extra special about these 50th parties. Every single one of them has been for someone I have known since my 20's and although some have been with people I hardly ever see - and in one case haven't seen for at least ten years, the important thing is we can get together and it's as if nothing has changed, because we are basically the same people inside. A bit baggier, a bit more prone to hangovers that last days rather than hours and a bit more careworn, we are still able to have a good time and forget our cares to celebrate that, damn it all, we've made it this far!

I am still in denial that one day I will also hit the big 5-0 and plan to keep the words of Anita Brookner uppermost in my mind...
'She was a handsome woman of forty-five and remained so for many years.'

But I do find it almost impossible to guess the ages of people these days. Not just because everyone seems to have had work done but because it's impossible to pigeon-hole just by age. I feel that surgery often has the adverse effect as it's a sign that you're ageing and fighting it - think Melanie Griffiths or Donatella Versace 

- a walking advert for NOT indulging in the knife. On the other hand, there are those that are enviable in their surgically enhanced youthful looks - who wouldn't want to look like Demi Moore at her age? And what is her age anyway - she looks about 25!
It all leaves me more than a little bit confused. A secret little bit of me wants to remain forever youthful looking and yet I'm happy to sneer at those who have paid out a small fortune for surgery and botox to look far worse for it. I won't ever do it and chase my younger self with Pilates and Zumba sessions instead. I party hard when I get the chance but am happiest in a pair of flat pumps over high heels. I spend a fortune on blending in my grey hair which is still long - won't be cutting that into a middle-aged bob quite yet, thanks very much - but won't be shelling out for capped teeth or whitening (well not quite yet anyway). I don't consider myself vain but I probably am. And I AM ageing whether I like it or not... it's just a matter of time.

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