Drunk on Life

witchAs I write this post, I look more Middle Ages than middle aged… haggard and close to death.    No, at 46 I haven’t reached the end of my lifespan, but I may have reached the end of my alcohol-tolerance life-span it seems.

There are many good things about getting to this age with all my teeth intact. In the Middle Ages, being 46 and still alive meant you were probably considered a witch and burned at the stake. Now in the modern age, being 46 and still being alive means we are probably considered just a bitch because we no longer care about what people think, and they can burn in hell.   Yes, one of the benefits of mid-age is not giving a rat’s arse about a lot of things anymore… more on that in a later post.  Oh, yes, my tolerance for fools has diminished.

But one of the downsides of hitting mid-age is my tolerance for alcohol has diminished too.  There probably is a scientific reason , and no doubt it involves hormones** but I don’t really care.  I’m just wallowing in self(inflicted) pity.

I was listening to some music with my girls in the car (pre-hangover) and a fab song came on about getting ready on a Saturday night and it reminded me of those good old days when getting ready involved a glass of wine, a good loud stereo, a dance in my bedroom while I applied perfect eyeliner.  It took an hour, tops.

Now it takes an hour just to find the right light so I can see my eyes well enough to apply wonky eyeliner, and no hint of a dance as it’s hard enough to see what I’m doing without jigging everywhere.

Now getting ready for a Saturday night out is actually a two day event.  It involves advance preparation.  You have to make sure you have downloaded a really good movie, bribed the children to get up quietly in the morning and make breakfast for themselves (this can involve chocolate) and watch said movie, QUIETLY, downstairs without waking mummy. (Super advance planning is preferably ensuring someone else takes them).

You also have to forgo all snobby issues around only providing home cooked Sunday dinners and make sure you buy a chicken in a bag from Tesco and a tray of pre-prepared roasties coz there is no way you’ll be fit to cook the next day.

A night out now requires a day to prepare.  An afternoon nap essential but often unlikely, so at least get a good night’s sleep in the night before.

Rogue chin hair alert at all times in the 24 hours before hand – they can appear at ANY TIME.  Pack tweezers in handbag in case one appears during the evening.  The venue is important as I will only go out now if I know there will be seats and I set the pint of water beside my bed before I go out.

It is also VERY important to keep the diary free rest of week.  I recently had a big night out followed by an all day girlie lunch. It was actually unbearable getting the bus to the lunch and when I arrived, while everyone else (who had had the early night, see point above) had Prosecco, the only fizzy thing I had was a beaker of burping Barrocca and a glass of deoraliyte.

This is a very alarming state of affairs and it really pisses me off. Have I not built up enough bonus points in this Game of Life to enjoy a little gin guzzling when I want?   I’m not even talking about rolling down the road in my bare feet, clutching high heals and a donor kebab.  I’m talking about a few glasses of wine at my book club!   Sod L’Oreal.  Every bottle of wine should come with a label that says ‘Are you worth it?’  Or better still, Is this night worth it?   

Because it has to be worth the pain the next day or it’s not worth doing. 

Forty might be the new 30, and 50 might be the new 35, but what does that actually mean when our minds stay young but our kidneys keep ageing? 

There is no longer a template for my age group of 40 and 50 somethings. My breeding years are done, my boobs need more help to stay upright, my eyesight is failing me, but my courage is not.  In many ways I feel I’ve just passed the exams and am ready to start actually living.  I want to celebrate getting to the end of a day with the same number of eyelashes I started with, with a nice glass of wine.  I want to kick back with friends without the kickback of a shotgun headache.   I want to finally emerge from 10 baby years, and get back to living and laughing and loving without singing Wheels on the Bus.

So as I prepare for the end of my fertility years I just don’t feel an urge to curl up and lament my soon-to-be non-functioning uterus. I feel an urge to grab my life, defunct uterus and all, and start dancing.  I want to turn the energy I gave to egg production into a production of me.  I’m want to sling my defunct uterus around my neck like a sexy french scarf and rush around with my busy life, flushing hot if needs be, and brush off any thoughts that this is the beginning of the end. This is merely the end of the beginning.  And damn it I deserve a night out here and there.

Admittedly it was a book club, but my book club has such a great gang of gals that it is also one of my favourite social events.   I only had a few glasses of wine, but the next day felt like I’d been to Boot camp, not book club.

Was it worth it?   Absolutely;  it will always be worth the pain to share time, tonic and conversations with fun women.   But please, Mother Nature, give me a break. 46 is the new 26, so hold back on those hangovers for another few years yet please.

** actually it’s worse, it’s to do with increased levels of body fat that inevitably comes with age. Oh just shove your science and pass the gin.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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