Monday, 20 October 2014

40 days Pt 2: In Your Prime

You had some excellent ideas of forty things I could write about, but they sounded hard and requiring of thought and applicationOf course, the problem with this forty days thing is that you are not always in an articulate and reflective mood. Or indeed most of the time. Or, perhaps, ever. Today I have been on a 3 hour public transport trudge, given a TRULY APPALLING careers talk (I thought it was just a chat! It was a proper talk! Well, obviously it wasn't the way I did it, but it should have been) and also got into a fight about guitar lessons (middle class fight club, this).  Reflective mature wisdom 0 : shouting in the street 1.

In more relevant news, I have just finished reading this, which is out on Thursday.

I was very much pre-disposed to enjoy it, partly because I think India Knight can make any topic appealing (I actually burn with desire to buy all the beauty products she recommends and I mainly exfoliate with my own tears and a stick. In another life, she'd have been absolutely amazing in advertising) and partly because, thrillingly, I am in the acknowledgements, having given my expert advice on (i) wigs and (ii) eyebrows. But even if I weren't, it was a very jolly (well, maybe not the dementia and vaginal withering bits) and appropriate read for me at precisely this point. Before reading it, I thought it would be more of a style and beauty guide, but it's actually a cheery kind of guide to life in middle age, by turns briskly prescriptive, very funny and full of joy. It is mainly, and evangelically, about enjoying things and the bliss of small domestic delights, but not in a moony self-help way. What better message could there be?


New neuroses spawned: Feet 
Awful things may happen to my feet once I turn forty and ceaseless vigilance is apparently required. This is problematic because my feet are already genuinely revolting, full of bumpy, deformed, gnarled horrors. I might just have to cut them off at the ankle.

Existing neuroses reinforced: Teeth
I knew they were bastards and I knew it would only get worse. This confirms it.

Danger of turning into 'Hampstead Lady': ever present
- Grey Louise Brooks bob
- Shapeless, genderless, artfully folded Japanese garmentry
- Birkenstocks or brogues
Quite honestly, I aspire to look this put together, but it is beyond the pale. No five armed hunchbacked black shrouds from the Liberty Japanese Weirdness Room. No massive glasses. No angular jewellery. Step away from Hampstead Bazaar.

Insuperable problem: colour
"Black looks absolutely awful on almost everyone"
"Grey is the colour of fog, pigeons and mice"
This is 98% of my wardrobe out. Remaining: a green, patterned Issa dress that looks like one of those Magic Eye drawings and probably only covers one tit now, since it was bought at Maximum Insanity point. A one shouldered Jaeger red dress, also bought in a fugue state which I will never, ever wear. Something blue and a bit cheap looking with a grease stain that is impossible to get into due to complex layerage and whose belt I have lost. I need to do something about this. Without spending any money.

Frightening revelation: guinea pigs

Anyway, it is highly recommended.

My friend F on forty: "It had been the worst six months of my life and it was about to get even worse. Nadir of my life. Anyway. Forty. Worst birthday ever."

Do please continue to share your crappy forty stories.


Roberta said...

First-time commenter - hi! 42-year-old divorced mom of 3 in Chicago.

40. Ugh. Two months prior, husband admitted having an affair at work. He moved out on my birthday.

I recommend skipping 40 and jumping to 41, or else do 39 twice and then jump to 41.

The physical stuff.... well... my feet are crap, but they've always been crap. The only other problem since 40 is weight, but I probably can blame divorce-related pad thai binges and beer for most of that.

Stacy said...

Jeez, Roberta, what a bummer of a birthday, but let's hope it's mostly been up since then. I'm 42 too and completely underemployed due to my decision at 32 to go back to school and get a PhD. I should have done it sooner--maybe there would have been jobs in my field then. Oh well--it was fun and I did meet lots of great people. My 40th was fun--cake, flowers, chocolate.

I have unattractive feet too, not to mention now having to use orthotics to avoid hip and knee pain. Whee, aging is fun, but I do appreciate what still works a lot more than I did 15 years ago.

Pauline said...

Looking back, forty was a breeze. Wait til you reach the dreaded 60! It seemed to me that, not only did my feet give up, but excess hirsuitism arrived plus aching knees, extra toilet visits during the night and the feeling of complete invisibility. I also now feel incapable of dressing myself as nothing seems to either suit/fit properly. I would love a makeover as my hair has also developed a mind of its own. Yoga and Fitsteps help but I would need to be doing them every day to counteract the dreaded ageing. I had my 66th birthday last week so am on the downward slope to 70. I'm told I don't look my age, but, by God I feel it!

Unknown said...

I, like Roberta, had a rubbish 40th, in the midst of a bout of flu (proper flu, not the bad cold type of flu that some people pretend to have), looking after a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, who both had flu too and we all whined and cried and dosed eachother up with Calpol on the sofa all day. I thought I could improve things on my 41st birthday but my mum put the kibosh on that one by dying unexpectedly at 11.45pm the day before. So I spent that one again crying on the sofa, this time feeding the children from a box of cupcakes, each with a letter from "Happy birthday" iced onto it, that I got in the post, every time they started moaning. Things have only improved since then. Hope yours goes much better than mine.

karen said...

I can't remember much about 40 - I had a 2yo and a 4yo, and there is much blurriness from that period. I turn 50 next year, and it does get better - not giving a damn about what other people think anymore helps a lot :)

Kimberly @ said...

I'm 42. The thing that bothers me the most post-40 has to be the crazy old man eyebrow hairs that have started sprouting. If I keep pulling them out, I'm afraid they won't grow back. So I'm trimming them with little scissors.

WrathofDawn said...

Forty didn't bother me in the slightest. Which is good, because I spent my 40th birthday alone, 5 months after my father passed away and a year and a half after my husband walked out. And my 40s were quite lovely.

Fifty, however, had me freaked the freak out. Boggled of mind. BOGGLED. But once I got the mentalpause out of the way, it's been a breeze.

But now that I've read Pauline's comments about 60 and I can see the whites of 60's eyes...


Aspidistra said...

Hello, I've commented a few times without introducing myself. I'm Ann, 44, live in London. I didn't mind 30 and wouldn't have minded 40 except we'd been trying for a baby for a couple of years and turning 40 made the whole enterprise seem even more daunting. I think it's the middle part of the decades that tend to bother me more, when you're well and truly in that decade. So, to fortify yourself for the coming decade, what about one thing you are proud of/like about yourself each day. Or a creative writing exercise a day - not because you need it, because you're a great writer.

Sally said...

On my 40th, I went out to a smart cocktail bar with my friends. I was home by 10.30 pm, sitting in my lounge with a cup of tea and eating custard creams. I don't like late nights, and I knew I had to get up with the kids. I'm hoping that in ten years, on my 50th, I might be a little more wild and exciting...

Anonymous said...

Have you read Maeve Higgins' "We Have a Good Time... Don't We?". If not, you should - I think you would really enjoy it.

Paddy said...

Have you read Maeve Higgins' "We Have a Good Time... Don't We?". If not, you should - I think you would really enjoy it.

Ivywindow said...

I ran away for my 20th and 30th birthdays. I didn't want to leave my teens or become the grown up 30 evidently had to be (I know...). However, 40 didn't bother me at all. In fact I had a huge party, outdoors, in the coldest April there has been since practically records began, with a pig on a spit and barrels of beer, and almost everyone I loved was there, and it was brilliant, although I did get rather overwhelmed by the fact that all the people I loved came out for this thing for me, and so hid for quite large chunks of the party to avoid being the centre of attention. Apparently even if it is your idea for the event you can't take the essential introvert out of a person.
I am only 18 months into my 40s, but so far it is good.

breakfastlady said...

Oh god my 40th was the *pits*. My dad died 8 days after my birthday, of cancer, so I spent the day miserably waiting for a phone call to summon me home. Rotten. Got a big 'jolly 40th' bunch of flowers from work and then another 'sympathy' one a couple of weeks later. This, combined with the sleepless fug of having a 5 month-old firstborn. Oh and about two weeks after the funeral I discovered I was pregnant again. Talk about being hit round the head with a frying pan. From the giddy heights of 48 I am hoping for a rather more cheery 50th, inshallah. OTOH, my 40s have been much happier than my 30s, on account of the no longer giving a hoot. The chin hair, crumbly teeth and arthritis I could live without, but hey.

Patience_Crabstick said...

I just turned 46 (gah!) so forty is a distant memory. I was about to graduate from school (went back and got a second degree in nursing) so was facing the job interviews and new career crap that most people face when they're 21.

I didn't know that aging wrecks your feet. My feet are a disaster. I can't even get a pedicure, because if I did, I would never recover from the pedicurist's shocked reaction to my feet.

Telechick said...

mine was a mixed bag. On the plus side, my wonderful mother threw a small surprise party for me with my close friends which was lovely, but she had to do this because my husband was in the midst of an alcoholic depression and was not functioning. Then on my 41st birthday he had a liver transplant (which was not successful in the end). My beloved 95 yo grandmother died 2 days before my 42nd birthday. hmm. On the bright side, I made it through this year's without any major issues - actually, I have no recollection of it at all and it was only 9 mos ago!

MargotLeadbetter said...

Mine was alright. In fact I'm having another one, i.e. have been lying about my age and am currently '37', so will be 40 again in a few years.

I think you should try a few blog styles among your 40, e.g. 'fashion', 'lifestyle', 'food' etc., in your own inimitable style.

Anonymous said...

Dear Waffle, I am with you every step of the way.....I’m forty in January. It definitely feels like a milestone and one which I would happily skirt around. This year, I have found that I’m being unusually kind to myself. The words “it’s my 40th soon” seem to give license to all sorts of things like buying expensive clothes I can never normally justify (and still can’t afford) or planning outings that I’d think were too extravagant. Somehow, I seem to have realised you only live once and better to live and enjoy it than endure perpetual self-denial out of some misplaced sense of virtue! Perhaps actually turning 40 will be liberating! Fingers crossed for us both,
Ash ;-)

Arianna said...

I just bought the book, hoping it will show me some sort of good news about this whole middle age business.

I just turned 40 in July. Exactly 1 month after my very beloved dad passed away. I was a wreck and to make it worse I have increasingly have been unable to drink very much or I suffer the worse hangovers known to man. Precisely when I could do with a few drinks the most to dull life's sharp edges, my body is rebelling against me. Talk about cruel.

Crazy Mom! said...

I have to say that years 55 and 56 (the latter especially) were nothing but shit. But 57 is starting so much better!!! I no longer care that I have bags under my eyes and that my children ask me what it was like to know the guys who invented fire and the wheel. I'm now looking at being an empty nester - hurrah!!! Freedom!

Plus, no one will bitch if I eat the last piece of cake.

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