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.