One of my blogging buddies, the often bemused but sublime Dylan Hearn, blogged on Suffolk Scribblings recently about a friend reaching their 40-year milestone. I wrote about a similar experience not so long ago, on my now defunct first-pass at a blog (yes, if at first you fail…). Dylan’s blog made me think my age-related musings might be worth a re-airing. I admit, it’s a bit off-topic but you let me get away with my rant about the colour pink the other day, so perhaps you will indulge me again:
A friend who turned 40 wrote to me: First day of 40, so far so good; nothing fallen off, changed colour or shrunk and no additional wrinkles.
I thought she might like to know what she has to look forward to:
By the time she hits her next Big One, things will be different. There will be crevices appearing, several of them – to call them wrinkles would be to do them a disservice. Valleys of doom, perhaps, canyons of dismay…. not simple wrinkles.
As to colour – her hair will begin to go monochrome in parts – she should not lose heart though, as she’ll be able to pull out the dull ones for a while. But she must remember to stop once the ratio of monochrome to colour turns against her. Where her hair loses, her skin will gain. Her once peach-like flesh will acquire a varied tonality, ranging from pale and pasty to florid, through rashy and spotty, to blotchy. It will flare from time to time in approximate response to something she ate or more likely drank, or when some thoughtless younger person turns up the thermostat.
A moment more on hair… there will be a day, one day, when she encounters a firm, unyielding protrusion on her chin. She will prefer to think of it as a hair but it will in fact be her first whisker. Others will follow. It is an immutable law of nature.
As to shrinkage – my only experience is of the polar opposite, a waistline exploding outwards, a pair of chins blowing up like helium balloons and a cup size heading towards the middle of the alphabet (though this is not going entirely unappreciated). If anything shrinks – anything at all – she must praise the gods.
My friend’s birthday gathering took place at a cool and quirky restaurant – the sort of venue designed to make 50-somethings like me feel properly ancient. A gaggle of women of all ages, the mood enhanced by repeated selections from the cocktail menu, and conversation ranged widely. Yes, we ladies know how to get to the nub of things, Loose Women stylie; and there’s nothing like a tray of Long Island Iced Teas with champagne chasers to drive the tone of the conversation along ever more intimate highways.
Age played a part in the talkabout, of course it did: the twenty-somethings still expected to meet the man of their dreams (aaah…); the thirty-somethings still hoped to have a family, one day, but not yet, please not yet; the forty-somethings were either experts in GCSE revision topics, or had become the fount of all knowledge on matters concerning the preservation of what remained of their fertile state. Advice abounded, from performing upside-down gymnastics after sex, through womb-level acupuncture to acquiring loose cotton underwear for ‘the boys’. The fifty-somethings, befuddled on a tiny fraction of what we used to be able to drink, blotchy-necked and sweating from every pore, exchanged tips on the ins and outs of HRT and the best eye cream to ward off the crows-feet.
But it was a riot, yes, it was good – as nights-out go, it was one of the better ones. And you know the best thing? It was lovely to see the many facets of my wonderful friend, our friendship now of some 25 years standing, reflected in this spirited and affectionate gathering.