It’s new year and I should be make resolutions to improve me, my life, my temper, my body, my mind, my parenting, my daughtering, my writing, my working, my balance. Blah, blah, blah.
Well, I am resolutely against resolutions. Especially ones that imply I should give up on my dark chocolate indulgence or the sounds of tonic dancing in a gin glass, my pre-frozen lemon slice bouncing off the sides. Life is hard sometimes. I need my chocolate and my gin. That’s a resolution I can stick to. But I will admit I do have to move a bit more than I have done for the last few weeks. Like actually exercise.
So as I preen and pull, pluck and prim myself into shape to face the new year, I get asked to join a pilates class for the over-50’s.
I am 45.
Now I think I’m doing ok for my age. I’ve got my mother’s genes, but thankfully I no longer wear her jeans. (When I became a mother, I thought I should look like one. Sadly I didn’t choose Harper and Brooklyn’s mum and I went through a worrying habit of looking like my mum). Thankfully I got over that, and I feel actually, that at reaching my mid-point I have found my best point.
Yes, I have reached that half-way point (I will not say middle aged) – if I drink enough spinach and mango Nutribullets I can maybe live to 90) so I have reached the mid-point. Not middle aged. Mid way. Half way. It just means I’ve spent my first half in training and now I get to graduate, and live with the knowledge that I know a lot but have more to learn (as opposed to most of the first half of my life were I lived with the knowledge I knew everything, only to learn over and over again, I knew very little indeed.)
Anyway, I am 45 and feeling like the starting pistol on my life has just been fired. I am raring to go! And I get asked to join a 50+ pilates class. Admittedly it is my best friend’s class and she wanted to trial out her new routine… and (yes, I’m still making excuses) this is the only class that I can fit into my schedule. But Really!! 50+ !!! (believe me there are more exclamation marks being printed in my head).
It was a shock to me when I reached 40. I’m still coming to terms with becoming a single parent. and now it was a shock to realise I am (too) fast approaching another momentous stage – 50. It took a decade of my 30’s to prepare for being 40, and now I feel I am only settling into that. Then, for the very first time I was forced to think about the next impending milestone. Next month I turn 46…. closer to the next milestone than the last.
My mind still thinks I’m 25, My ears still prefer 80’s music, my boobs still think they are 35 and my inner child is always 5 and loves a good tantrum. So this is rather perplexing to me.
As I have aged, I really feel I have started to look better the last 5 years. All those teenage trying offending fashions years , all that ‘who am I?’ look changes, all those fat and frumpy ‘I’m just in pregnancy, breast-feeding, exhausted’ mode. All that baby birthing is over, and I have found an inner joy with my look that no longer requires me to be trendy, but I’m not quite at the comfortable shoes stage yet. I make an effort (it takes more effort) but it’s more for me than anyone else.
I take real issue with the idea that women over 40 start to become invisible in society. I’ve just reached the stage when I finally like the way I look and have found my voice. I WANT TO BE SEEN AND HEARD PLEASE!
I have reached the mid-point of my life, but I do not want it to mean I am middle-of-the-road, or middle-aged, or tottering on middle ground. I want to voice my opinions, be fearless and frightening, and fun and fiesty.
So the starter pistol has fired on the second half of my life and I’m starting out again – not in the middle of anything. Instead I’m at the start of everything. I’m starting my new life as a single woman (ok that’s the first time I’ve said that, how weird). But this time my mum isn’t dressing me in homemade, second hand clothes, velvet jackets and weaved skirts. This time I’m not wearing the broke and brittle clothes of student poverty. This time I’m not dressing up as a mummy. This time I am dressing how I feel. This time I am starting with a lifetime of fashion fiascos behind me, and a realisation that my skin is as important as my hair – treat it well. I preen, I prim, and I trim. I look after myself because I want to look good and feel good. I will run to the sun now to keep fit and healthy, instead of running to the hills in desperation. This time, the only real make up I need is my own (although I’m not giving up mascara.)
Ok, something quite weird has happened – I just love the serendipedness of the universe. As I write this blog my word for the day has pinged on my phone (yes, nerdy and proud to have the Dictionary app) and today’s word is BEATITUDE. I have never heard it before. It means:
Definition: (noun) Supreme blessedness or happiness; a condition of supreme well-being and good spirits.
Synonyms: blessedness, beatification (which means to exalt; glorify)
So I will embrace and exhalt and glorify the next half of my life. It will not be perfect, it will be well worn and frayed. Like me. But it will fit. I will have terrible days and amazing days, and plenty of dull and drudgery-driven days. I will have highs and lows and lots of flat lines. But it will all be a blessing.
And so, with a head held high (and a specially made T-shirt saying ‘I AM ONLY 45!’) I will head off to the 50+ pilates class and be proud to be in such company. These are women that have lived. Oh, and to make us all feel better, my friend has renamed the class – Fit for Life. I feel like I finally am.