Saturday, 21 April 2007

More Than Halfway

I see my folks are getting old,
And I watch their bodies change.
I know they see the same in me
And it makes us both feel strange;
No matter how you tell yourself
It's what we all go through -
Those lines get pretty hard to take
When they're staring back at you.

- 'In the Nick of Time' by Bonnie Raitt

I've been thinking about my age recently. It all started I suppose at the local Pagan Moot (a monthly social meeting) where the youngest member (17) enquired about my age. When I told him he expressed surprise that I'm younger than his mum. He wasn't intending to be rude, but the implication was that I'm looking a bit rough round the edges!

Then last week I went to the station to pick up my 19 year old Goddess-daughter, Rachel, who was returning to the local University after the Easter break. Catching sight of the two of us reflected in a window made me realise how old and mumsy I actually look. To be honest most of the time my inner self feels like a 12 year old faking it through the adult world. Sadly the outer reality is increasingly at odds with this! My former size 10 figure has expanded to a 16, my hair has white streaks, my wrinkles are digging in for the long haul and - horrors! - I am beginning to detect saggy skin under my eyes!!! It can only be a matter of time before the jowls develop and it is clearly all down hill from there.

My brother had his 40th birthday in February and my Dad recently celebrated his 70th. Time is moving inexorably on, though it doesn't seem possible to me that any of us can be this old. Am I in denial? The funny thing is that until now ageing has never particularly worried me - when all my friends were moaning about turning 40 (and before that 30) I just wondered what all the fuss was about. I've never been tempted to lie about my age, dye my hair or resort to more serious measures like plastic surgery. I hope I never will, although I have to admit I've been seriously considering henna as an option lately!

I'm 43, making me very likely more than halfway through my life. Is this all just anxiety about mortality? Or mere vanity? I'm not sure. Probably a bit of both.

What I am sure about is that (to quote Bonnie Raitt again) 'Life gets mighty precious/When there's less of it to waste'. Intimations of your own mortality are a great incentive to take stock, concentrate on what's really important and get your act together! As a disorganised procrastinator extraordinaire I should probably start making to do lists and planning straightaway.

Or is this how all the best midlife crises start? Somebody please tell me to get a grip if you catch me talking liposuction, trying to dress like Kate Moss or selling off the ancient Ford Escort for a Harley Davidson.


Tori said...

I absolutely love your attitude about aging!!!
I wrote something recently about embracing aging and denouncing hair color and even hiding age and I suspect that many folks thought that I had no place to say anything since I am just shy of 30.
We cannot stop time so we mine as well go right along with it.

Mike Farley said...

I have never felt comfortable about my age - until I hit 40. I think I was born to be middle aged. I was definitely not groovy enough to be a teenager or a 20-something. I now have white hair overtaking my natural hair colour in my beard and I LOVE it! I still feel young at heart - and then I catch site of myself in a shop window and wonder who the old fart is - and it's me! Great!

deborah oak said...

fabulous post. One of my clients recently was talking about similar feelings....she's making big changes in her life due to feeling the preciousness of time. In the session she said with force "This is NOT a mid-life crisis but a mid-course CORRECTION"! Yes, we might dye the hair or spend a little more on skin products, but the big change with getting older is saying more what we think, and doing whatever it takes to feel and act more alive. Like the post before this....reveling in gratitude. Y

deborah oak said...

yikes, that got sent before it was done...anyways...susan you are sure to be a gorgeous woman no matter what age. And especially old...I think you've emanated wisdom for many years and the older you get you will settle into it. Yoda was 7 inside and timeless too...the daffodils around my house make me think of you and wales.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is beautiful!

Magda xxx

Reya Mellicker said...

Thank you for this! I've been grappling with my own aging process for a few years now. I'm 54 as of this past February, extraordinarily healthy and happy, too ... but ... the changes in my physical body are alarming, at least to me.

Last summer I cut off the last of my dyed red hair. Now it's all silver with some darkish streaks. I think it looks better, softer against my aging skin. And I'm no longer the victim of those silver roots against dyed red hair - god that was awful.

The best thing about being in my 50's is the hormonal shift. I feel released from so many of the side effects of the menstrual cycle. it's truly liberating.

So - aging has its benefits, but it's hard, at least for me. Glad I'm not the only one!