Growing older is a funny thing.
In one part of your brain, you understand what it means every time ‘Happy Birthday’ is sung as you blow out the candles.
And you realise that milestone birthdays are not just an excuse for a big party, or girls indulgent trip away, or even a kite surfing holiday in a ‘paradise’ like the Cocos Islands.*
Milestone birthdays in fact mean you have become a whole decade older.
But there is another part of your brain that never really accepts you have grown older.
The part of the brain that looks at athletes like Roger Federer, and remarks at how well he is still playing – given his age.
Only to realise he is actually younger than you.
Or you find yourself ‘oohing’ and ‘aaahing’ with your teenage daughter over male movie stars, only to realise they are so much younger than you, you could have been their mother too.
Being surprised by how young people actually are, has been bothering me for some time now. But usually at the edge of my conscience, rather than a nagging concern.
Every now and then it might have come up in conversation.
Perhaps I have been chatting to girlfriends, and we talk about how it really is no surprise Nicole Kidman needs Botox given her age. Only to realise how few years there are between my age and hers. (Thankfully I am on the lower side).
Lately however it feels like my age is lying in wait for me, and jumping up at every opportunity to slap me in the face and say “Yep, here I am”.
Just last week when eating breakfast in a hotel whilst working interstate, I noticed a balding, chubby fellow diner and dismissed him as unworthy of my window shopping.
He was simply another typical middle-aged businessman eating his high cholesterol laden breakfast.
A little while later I overheard his conversation with his colleague and realised I recognised his voice.l
To my horror it turned out I knew him back in the day.
The days of uni, when we were hip,young and full of promise, and he was part of my extended gang.
I realised with a sinking feeling in my gut that if he looked middle-aged, it was because he was in fact middle-aged. And if he is middle-aged – then so am I.
A few days later on a Saturday afternoon I was lying in “savasana” in a yoga class with my long-time BFF.
As we lay there, trying desperately not to break wind, and with the groans from our joints audible above the meditative music, I remembered shared Saturday afternoon exercise classes of years gone by.
Classes where we would jump and shout our way through a high energy aerobic workout, which always kicked off with the Barnsey version of “River Deep, Mountain High“.
After an hour of aerobic intensity, off we would go full steam ahead for a (very long) night of dancing, drinking and general merriment.
In contrast after this Saturday night’s ‘partying’ we were both tucked up in our respective beds by 11.30pm, a few minutes after I had finished the last drop of my ‘calming tea’.
I am not sure why the universe seems so intent on making me hear this message about my age.
To be frank, it feels a little cruel. Or perhaps the feeling is actually the wall of denial crushing down around me.
Whatever the reason there seems no escape from the message.
On that note I had best sign off. It is my birthday in a few short weeks and I need to make plans.
To party or not party. Actually – to acknowledge or not acknowledge.
Cheers till next time,
*Yes this is a reference to The Husband and his way of celebrating milestone birthdays.