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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Not as young as I was

Sometimes I feel young. I mean, good grief, at 36 I am still young by most people’s standards. However, lately life has done its darndest to remind me that I’m not as young as I was…

Item 1: HOW long ago were the 90s?
Today Big Sister and I were finding our favourite songs on youtube. I suddenly thought of “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette, which featured on the soundtrack of that unforgettable 1990 movie “Pretty Woman”.

It was a shock to realise that 1990 was 22 years ago.

Item 2: I know that song on the radio because I’ve heard it before, as in, ‘before you were born’.
There are way too many songs coming out lately whose lyrics I know word for word - unsurprising, since said songs are covers of hits that are 20 years old or more. Fame. Creep. Billy Jean. Like a Prayer. In Your Head. I have to hold my tongue to stop myself airing opinionated middle-aged-womanly comments like, “Oooh, it’s a brave person who would do a cover of MJ/Madonna” or shaming myself by using words like ‘travesty’ or ‘disrespectful’ when pointing out bold and ill-advised alterations of lyrics.

Item 3: Why are you dressed as an 80s tragic?
Everywhere I look, people are wearing stuff that I remember (not very fondly) from the 80s. I am officially old enough to be seeing a retro rehash of my early teenage years. Oh dear God.

Item 4: Mirrors and other harsh critics tell me I’m looking old
I have suddenly found myself in the target market for anti-ageing creams and potions featuring words like “repair”, “transformation” and “miracle” in the title. I will buy just about any product that promises to “reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots” because suddenly I have a whole bunch of wrinkles and age spots.

Some time ago I was discussing my crow’s feet with Big Sister:

BS: Mummy, why do you have all those things around your eyes?
Me: You mean my wrinkles? Well, as we get older our skin gets weaker, and it gets lines and wrinkles. When I smile you can really notice them, can’t you?
BS: I can really notice them even when you’re not smiling.

Item 5: Even impartial bystanders think I look old
In Japan, even when I was still in my 20s, if people guessed at my age it was not unusual for them to pick a number in the 40s. I still remember attending a meeting as a first year associate in Tokyo, and being mistaken for a partner. To be fair, the average 40- or even 50-something Japanese woman is ageless and fresh-faced and has so few wrinkles it defies belief. Being told I look as old as these graceful women is not insulting.

I had long reassured myself that this over-estimation of my age was mere cultural error. I had blissfully believed that among other white-skinned people I still looked on the young side. It was a shock, therefore, when earlier this year my doctor remarked disingenuously that although young women didn’t need regular medical check-ups, I should be bringing myself along for one every year. He realised his faux pas immediately and hastily tried to backtrack: “By ‘young women’ I meant women in their 20s!”

I had almost recovered from this blow to my womanly confidence when, less than a minute later, he brought up the subject of menopause. Hello??
 
Overall, in recent weeks I’ve been made aware that the transition from spring chicken to speckled hen is well and truly complete.

Now that I’ve had this cathartic rant, I’m going to promise myself to read this post again 10 years from now. I predict that I will laugh. Hard. I predict that I will look at photos of myself taken this year and think, woman, what were you on about? You looked young and gorgeous!

Age is all relative.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to slather myself in Miracle Potion and google “hormone replacement therapy”.

24 comments:

  1. (((HUGS))) Let's go to the karaoke and sing "It Must Have Been Love" or other greatest hits from that era, shall we? :-D

    Blogging is really cathartic and therapeutic. I wouldn't have survived moving to Finland without my blogger friends. :-D

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    1. omg, Amel, I miss karaoke so much! I used to go sometimes with friends in Tokyo. SO MUCH FUN! And yes, blogging is the best. I definitely owe part of my continued sanity to my friends in the blogging world!

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  2. I began feeling like my years were advancing a little too quickly when I turned 24. 24! I was almost in my mid-twenties! I still feel that way. I'm in my late-twenties! Why won't time just slow down and let me grow up a little?

    My point is that I think everyone feels old, regardless of their age. We all feel as if it's just too soon, and like maybe we haven't advanced far enough mentally to really justify our age. And you're right, you will laugh. You're not old in an objective sense. You're quite YOUNG in an objective sense! You only think you're old because this is the oldest you've ever been. ;)

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    1. Oh, that is so true! - that "you only think you're old because this is the oldest you've ever been"! Maybe none of us is ever truly mentally ready for the next year (or even the next day) of each of our lives. Recently I've felt that I've somehow come to terms with the idea that I am an adult, and a wife, and parent, and that I can (and have to) be capable of dealing with everything that comes with those roles. But now, suddenly, I've had the realisation that although with age comes experience, with experience comes age!! :)

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  3. Age is indeed relative. I don't feel particularly old (it helps living in a village which has lots of retired people in it!)....but then I don't look in mirrors very often. I do find myself saying though, "when I was young...." quite often when telling my children how easy they have their lives!! I also remember a few years ago looking at the date of birth of graduate job candidates on their CVs and thinking - wow! So I am also no Spring Chicken. Sometimes I think that I'd like to be in my 20s again, but then I realise that the things I would like to do are not necessarily things that I would do if I was 20 without having been nearly 40 first. I quite like the age I am, but I did also by my first "miracle potion" last week!!

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    1. I can truly relate to your realisation that "the things I'd like to do if I were 20 again are not necessarily things I'd do without having been nearly 40 first". I do like being thirty-something - very much - and although I sometimes think back wistfully to my 20s, mostly I just enjoy the memory of being 23 or 24 without necessarily wanting to live that life again.

      I also find myself telling my children stories about "when I was young". They cannot quite believe that when I was their age my family only had a black-and-white tv, and not even a VCR (let alone a DVD player!), and no cell phones, and no computer!

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  4. "It must have been love, but you're older now..."

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    1. It must have been good, but now it's so much bettterrrrr...:-D

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    2. "It must have been youth, but I lost it somehow..." :D

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    3. LOL LOL LOOOOLLLL...whaddya know? We've just started karaokeing here in the blogosphere. :-D

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  5. Throughout my life, I have looked younger than my actual age. It was a curse when I was in my 20s, but I rather like it now! When people find out my age, they try to compliment me by saying things like: "Wow, you really don't look that old", which actually means "sh*t, you're old!" But I am very happy and comformtable with my age!

    PS: I remember the 90s, and even before that! ;-)

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    1. I don't think I've ever looked particularly younger than my actual age, but it was interesting when I started at the bottom rung of an Australian law firm in my late 20s and all my peers there were in their early 20s (remembering that when you're 22 or 23 the age of 29 seems ancient). Initially, probably everyone just assumed that I was the same age as they all were, but some point it came out that I was the mother hen of the bunch; one girl in particular looked almost horrified, but tried to hide it with the kind of "you really don't look that old" comment you mentioned. Obviously the look of horror on her face is what I remembered, though!

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  6. he he....at least we are younger than our mothers :) I too have started looking at potions and lotions :) Although I do like the concept of "ageing gracefully" rather than looking like a botox experiment.

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  7. Hilarious post, though I was absolutely gobsmaked at pretty woman being 22 years ago - totally depressing!

    BTW not sure if its just your blog or all blogger blogs right now, but I cant post as Observant Mind (wordpress account) it wont let me - very weird...

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    1. Karyn, it really IS depressing, isn't it, when what feels like about 10 years ago turns out to have been double that time ago! sigh...

      I'm sorry about that issue in posting... I couldn't find any advice online about that kind of glitch. Fingers crossed it is just temporary...

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  8. Argh, yes, I'll be 36 too this year. But let me revel a bit, please, in being only 35 right now?
    And I don't want to go back to Japan anymore now...
    On the other hand, I remember when I just started working, at 26, as a management trainee, and everyone thought I was a student. I hated looking young then. Now, I look so old. This motherhood thing makes you age quickly I think.

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    1. Oh yes, Karien, I think I've aged immeasurably since having children! I can't say I'm truly bothered by it. HOWEVER, I am not really impressed when my 6 year old (who can be named as a major influence on my ageing) criticises my crow's feet, and strongly recommends that I buy the constricting undergarment she admired on a tv infomercial she shouldn't have been watching!

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  9. Off subject, I was wondering where are you from in Oz? We are possibly moving there later this year and are considering our options. I want somewhere warm (to beat the &*%*^%^&% arthritis) but there have to be jobs as well. Thinking of either Perth or Brisbane, as I am not sure Melbourne & Sydney give me the heat I crave... What do you think?

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    1. Karien, I'm from Brisbane, though I've also lived in Sydney. If you crave heat, Brisbane or Perth would certainly give you that! - a friend told me that today it was 30 degrees in Brisbane, and it isn't even summer there any more! I really don't know about the job market in either city; I've understood that Australia is doing fairly well in that respect (something like 5 or 6% unemployment) but that Queensland has higher rates of unemployment than other states. I'm sure that it would depend what kind of work you and your husband are looking for.

      All the very best!

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  10. Brilliant post, I am getting to the point where I look in the mirror and think can I really wear that still? Dressing like a teenager is not a good look

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    1. too right, Becky. What's even worse is those times I get all dressed up and I think, yep, I've still got it, until my 6 year old takes one look at me and says (with crushing honesty) "Um, no, Mummy."

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  11. Hahahahahahahahahahaha - been here soooooooo often...!! 45 looms large (June) - and finally - finally, I say - I think that I am a grown-up... Because 45 SOUNDS old - even to me, the great age-deny-er...
    I discovered a great trick a couple of years back - I now inflate my age, add 3-5 years. The results are hilariously flattering.
    Mostly (and this is probably because, as my Mother says, "a balloon has no wrinkles") I get people thinking I am in my 30s. Discounting me for most senior promotions because I wont be "old enough yet"!

    Your post struck such a resonant note. I know I am now "older". But up til just recently I hadn't realised how much older. My generation are the generation who partied and were forever teenagers - the generation (and I am as guilty as most!) who had children who were easily more sensible than them.

    I was chatting about this to two male friends (46 and 48 yrs) - both of whom look great, are physically fit and still partying (with their older wains). They agreed that it had suddenly struck them that they are close to being the next adult "final frontier generation" (ie their parents are dying and its their/my turn next). I am a grown-up now.
    And you know what? Being a grown-up is good.
    Anyway...You are gorgeous. Regardless of that arbitrary age thing - and isn't age so much better than callow youth...

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    1. I love that people think you're in your 30s! YOU GO, GIRL! Clearly, being part of the "forever teenagers" generation has the excellent side effect of slowing the ageing process (btw, you don't look the least bit balloon-like as far as I can tell from your blog photos, so I'm not buying the "balloons have no wrinkles" justification!)
      You're right - we ARE gorgeous - and you're right too that being a grown-up is pretty great. One day I might even feel ready to be part of the next "final frontier generation" (sobering thought...)
      In moments of pure vanity, though, I do sometimes wish that I could be a grown-up without the wrinkles and thickening waistline!! :)

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    2. PS: very glad to see you back, LML. I've missed your wonderful comments.

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