Monday, 26 July 2010

Age cannot wither her...

Well maybe not that lucky lady Cleopatra, but I'm not so sure about me.

Recently I have been musing rather a lot about my age and the effect this is having on me. Earlier on this year I hit the grand age of 41 and since then, things feel like they are changing - both externally and internally. Externally I've noticed wrinkles that weren't there before. Around my eyes in particular. I now have to apply face cream (OMG) before going to bed in an attempt to keep any further crow's feet at bay. Okay, I don't HAVE TO do this; it's a personal choice (my Dad, for instance, who is 60, never moisturises, even after he shaves - he's a man who doesn't give a sh*t about these things but still looks good in his way -well, what can I say, I am a gay man...) My hands have also become wrinkled and dry which I don't like very much and that's hard to reverse however much hand cream I keep bunging on.

Sticking with the physical side, the thing I probably dislike the most about my advancing years is my figure. A few years ago I could eat and drink pretty much to my heart's content, without having to worry too much about the effect it was having on my body, one reason being that I also exercised fairly regularly i.e. went to the gym and sometimes cycled too. I'm still going to the gym as much as I can - okay not quite as often as I used to, due to my teaching job, which sometimes means I don't have much time in the evenings. But on average I usually manage to drag my carcass there twice a week because I realise it's important. I've never been much of a sporty person - football does nothing for me and competitive or team sports I am just cr*p at. However I do attest to the benefits and necessity of physical exercise, hence the gym visits. Motivating myself to actually go and work out is bloody hard sometimes though, and involves a major effort on my part. Fortunately my journey home by car now involves passing the sports centre en route, so that's, erm, kind of handy. And afterwards I always feel much better and positively virtuous. Of late I've been burning approx 1,000 calories during my visits...

But ... and this is the point I am trying to make, which it has now taken me several sentences and lines to arrive at (and apologies for making you wade through this in the process): no matter how much I exercise, I just can't lose any bloody weight!! It used to be much easier to shed the pounds, but now I swear it's gotten a lot harder. And I'm sure being in my 40s has something to do with this - not having the same metabolism as when I was younger, for one thing.

I have what I consider to be a nice chest and I have often been complimented on my shapely legs. My calves, without slipping into too much narcissistic self-reflection, are in rather good form. My thighs, however, are flabby and untoned. Worst offender of all is my stomach, which is more protruding than ever with glimpses of - gasp - cellulite - and I feel embarrassed to bare (or should that be air?) it in public. As I mentioned, I'm off on a Californian trip shortly and I really hoped I might have slimmed down before then - how can I compete with all those Hollywood hotties strutting their stuff on the beach?? Now it seems like it's too late. Goddammit. Sometimes I have felt I look pretty ugly and it's not nice.

Yes, of course I know I'm certainly not the only one in this boat - those of you around the same age as me are probably experiencing, or have experienced, similar frustrations. Or maybe you just don't care. Perhaps that is the best route to take ...

And to add to my moanings, there are the internal - i.e. mental - changes as well. Recently I've started to feel kind of ... psychologically lethargic, if that makes any kind of sense. I don't have the mental energy or inclination to do certain things any more. For instance I'm not so bothered about going out clubbing; the thought of heading "up town" into central London to share a crowded room with a load of jostling and immature 20-something kiddies has ceased to appeal to me. If truth be known, these days I'm far more comfortable with just coming home, opening a bottle of wine, plonking my butt on the sofa and watching some quality kitsch / crap TV (slightly oxymoronic phrase going on there). Or playing with my PC. Or listening to music... Meanwhile, I'm usually more than happy for my husband to hook up with his mates after work and go out and get p*ssed, then roll up home in the early hours ... he's about 8 years younger than me and also works in central London, whereas I don't, so those are two fairly valid excuses. I should also add that in spite of the fact that I live in the supposed hip and happening cultural capital of England, increasingly I'm really not that bothered about going out and doing things. What has happened to me?!? Have I become completely switched off and indifferent? Am I now too laissez faire in my old age?

Now, my lovely people and fellow bloggers, please tell me that all of this is normal and a natural symptom of moving into one's 40s? Please also reassure me that I'm not going to morph into some boring old fuddy-duddy either... When I said I'm not so much into going out any more, that wasn't mean to sound like I've transformed a total couch potato. Just half a one... Maybe.

Meanwhile, perhaps I should leave it to Olivia Newton John and Sue Sylvester to serve up one remedy. And those school kids certainly seem to be in agreement...


  1. Dear OC, you could never be boring. And all you describe is perfectly normal. I'm going through it too. I haven't been out to a pub in the evening for years - the thought no longer appeals. Give me home comforts any day of the week. I've got white hairs sprouting everywhere. I could quite happily go to bed at 9.30 most nights. In my latter years at Uni I found myself increasingly gritting my teeth at the sheer immaturity and vacuousness of my fellow (younger) students. All that is happening is that your world view is changing. You now know who you are and what you want to do in any given moment... and you are less prepared to compromise that just for the sake of what other think or for "image". It's good. Roll with it. Be who you are and don't worry. As for the weight thing - seriously try yoga and pilates; my wife swears by it. ;-)

  2. Right you need sorting out.

    I've kept Clinque going these last 30 years. I, not my wife, buys the Dramatically Different moisturiser. Don't buy the male equivalent it's the same product just more expensive.

    I use it twice a day. In the morning after shaving and just before beddies - byes. Smoothing into your face has the advantage of keeping your hands soft. My wife would die for my hands.

    Going to the gym is a bind. It's boring, unnatural and expensive. So if you're doing it do it well. Decide what bits of your bod you want to target: and focus on that. When I started it was my belly that marched before me so I spent hours toning up my stomach muscles. But it's catching - I wanted to improve my tone generally - so light weights and reps. I then thought what about my stamina. So an hour on the treadmill.

    Or you could go running! It's boring, a drag but not as bad as a gym and cheap. You could, of course try squash!!!

    Finally, it's normal to get old: It's abnormal to do so prematurely. So get down to that disco and to hell with what all the young dudes say and shake your booty.

  3. Grow old disgracefully, am sure it's easier in the long run!! :-)

  4. That sounds perfectly normal to me. I gained a pot belly a year ago and have managed to get reid of some of it but the current semi-pregnant look is never going to go away! I've never been to the gymn and don't intend to start as it has no appeal to me so just doing more walking and less eating.

    Staying at home in a relaxing happy environment instead of a noisy crowded hectic London night out wins every time here... we are 37 so are even more young fogey than you!

  5. Thanks for all the great advice, everyone! Much apprericated.

    And Barry - as I'm about to head off to the states I may well try the moisturiser you recommend - the dollar is cheaper than the pound as well!