In a previous blog post I wrote about the prospect of my older self writing to me. What would I want my 60 year old self to say to me about the next 14 years and how I should be living them?
So here is that letter from the future me to the now me..
Having a hard week? Well, no better woman to deal with that. You’re a gold medalist in hard weeks. You can get through it no problems. Have faith in yourself. You also have a gold medal in great weeks, so remember that. It’s tough because you’re tired and overwhelmed and adapting to being a single parent, so take 10 minutes to be nice to yourself.
I’m sitting here in my garden swing seat having a lovely glass of chilled wine. I like take a few minutes for myself at the end of every day… I know you can’t imagine having that just yet, but I promise you, the girls are going to grow up and you will get more time for you. In fact they are already growing up and I know you are in that funny place where you’ve had 10 intensive years of babies and young kids and you are desperate to get some life back, yet are also horrified that they are growing older (yes, you will be the mother of a tween next month)… but they are growing up and they will and they are going to be as glorious as you imagine. Know your evenings in the swing seat are coming and try and enjoy the 3 hour bedtime routine. Advice though: You have to cut down the 3 hour bedtime routine! You can get a bit harder on them. They know how to play you, so set the rules and make them play by them. Don’t let them take every minute from you. I know they’ve had a rough ride, their world has been turned upside down, but you are building a new world for them. Have faith you are doing ok, and make sure they know the boundaries of that world.
I’d like to tell you that there won’t be any more hard weeks. Sorry, but life ain’t like that and over the next 14 years you will have plenty of shit weeks. But that’s life. You’ll have plenty of great weeks too. Plenty. Because you are that kind of person. You always make the good things happen. Keep doing that.
I’d like to tell you that your face will stay the same if you just keep buying that expensive cream that has been tested (with an * only for the small print to tell you *on 3 women). But I hate to tell you – all the damage is already done. All those years of exotic travel, all those days with your face turned to the sun with your mum, all that holiday reading without factor 50…. no matter what you do now, you’re fucked. Better to buy a decent cream and exfoliate properly and either buy a good concealer or learn to love the natural contouring that age spots give you.
I’d like to tell you that you’ll loose that half stone and firm up those thighs so you can find a smidgen of a thigh gap (yes, *sigh*, its still a thing). So I will. But girl, you’re not 20 anymore. You don’t get as thin as a wine bottle neck, by necking a bottle of wine. You need to make an effort. Get back out there running, start your pilates (yes, osteoperosis is a real juggernaut coming your way – so start taking the fish oils now while you’re at it), stop eating quite so much chocolate and avoid the bread counter in the supermarket. Two years ago you ran a marathon. You’re not going to run another one but you are going to do a few half-marathons and keep fit and healthy. So get your running gear on NOW and start again. Nowhere on a bag of Dorritos does it say ‘Goes well with a thigh gap’ (By the way, many women are just genetically built not to have a thigh gap so try and attain something a little more worthy please. Try and aim for being fit and fun, and looking the best you can, regardless of a measuring tape.)
I’d like to tell you that you’re hair will eventually find its mojo. It won’t. You’ve been going grey since your thirties and not in a Silver Foxy sort of way. More of a Dirty Ratty sort of way. So make a decision. How do you want to age? With grace or a grimace? I still dye mine, but I’ve let the colour start to merge with the natural. So give yourself a treat every so often. Cover up the greys because they make you feel better, and try and find a good conditioner. Your hair is going to thin my love, not thicken, so you’ll just have to find a style for thin hair and stop asking for a Jennifer Anniston haircut every time you go to the hairdressers. Friends just celebrated it’s 35th anniversary – you need to move on. Your hair has (most of it down the plug hole).
I’d like to tell you that you’ll find love. But why take all the surprises out of life? You have love now. Amazing friends, amazing family, beautiful girls, and a whole (half) life ahead of you to live and adventure and love. Here’s my advice as I sit on the swing chair sipping wine with a knowing smile. Be bold. Be sure. Be yourself. You’re going to make some mistakes – but they’re the ones you laugh with over wine and a few good girlfriends. Let go of the baggage of the past, and step out into the sunlight. Have fun!
I’d like to tell you that you are not going to be defined by some out-of-date label that you are now out-of date. So I will tell you. You are not middle aged. You are mid-aged. Big difference. I’d like to tell you that you are part of a generation of women redefining what that means and I will tell you. Don’t ever let age be a factor in your decisions about adventure or love or ambition. I’m 60 and still swinging (in my chair). Oh I wish I could tell you all the amazing things that are going to happen for you in the next 14 years – the dreams you’ll achieve, the places you will go, the people you will meet. But I don’t want to spoil the ride for you.
I’d like to tell you that when you make it to 60, fighting fit and raring to go, I’ll meet you on my swing chair and we can share a glass of chilled wine and watch the sun set, as you put your head on my shoulder and tell me about the shit weeks you will have had, but how we quickly leave them behind and laugh about all the good weeks. I’d love to hear all your stories about how your girls have amazed you and how proud you are of them now as young women. But I won’t be there anymore. I’ll be 74 by then and hopefully off sipping a cocktail in the Serengeti watching the elephants and gazelle gather at some water hole.