The 18 Worst Things About Ageing (That I Wasn’t Prepared For)

The 18 Worst Things About Ageing (That I Wasn't Prepared For) by Catherine Summers AKA Not Dressed As Lamb

Last week I declared that there’d be no more old lady “oof” noises in our house.

You know the ones I mean… you get up out of a chair: “Oof“. You reach for something from a low cupboard: “Oof“. You bend over to put on shoes: “Oof“.

Crikey, even getting out of bed in the morning means a myriad of old fogy noises all rolled into one: “Euuurgh-oooofff-ughhh-aargh… ohhh gawwwd“, all while stretching your aching muscles / sore back / cricked neck / blinking your eyes because WHERE ARE MY GLASSES I CAN’T SEE.

I said, THAT’S IT – do not let me do that old lady “oof” grunting anymore. I’m perfectly capable of getting myself up without all those geriatric noises emitting from my cakehole. (Keith is now under strict instructions to glare at me when I do the Pensioner Puffing as I’m now calling it.)

 

[Reading time: 8 mins]

 

In other words, ageing can be a bit of a… pain. And I mean that literally. All sorts of aches and pains you never knew could possibly exist in one body (I’m not quite 50 and yet I feel THIS sore?!) – in other words, WHEN DID I GET OLD?? And why did no one ever tell me about all these things that would happen as the years pass?

Now of course I’m not saying that I don’t love getting older. I do. I’m more confident, I love life, I actually love the fact that I’m nearly 50, not 20, anymore. I like being the age that I am in the age that we live in, that is, old enough to remember a time before technology but still young enough to use and appreciate it, isn’t that what they say about Generation Xers? Whatever – that’s me. I’m slap bang in the middle of that appreciation bracket.

But just as a bit of fun, I think we need to pick holes in the traits of ageing that will happen to the best of us, no matter how hard we try to turn back the clock. I’m not waging war on these quirks that come with the passing of time and the sagging of our bodies, but sometimes I do wish they’d give us just a bit of a break. I mean – ANOTHER Christmas? ALREADY? What happened to autumn? I definitely blinked too hard and missed it. AGAIN.

Please, Time: just slow down a little. Ageing IS a privilege, but for goodness sake just give me a second to find my glasses and appreciate it in all its mature glory.

Here, for your amusement (and probably head-nodding reading pleasure), are the 18 worst things about ageing I just wasn’t prepared for…

 

1. Jowls

Prevent wrinkles they said! Use this cream to stop deep lines they said! I can cope with crows feet all day long, but IMO jowls are the most hateful part of physical ageing. I do not mind wrinkles, in fact I quite like them. I don’t want botox to remove the little crinkle lines around my eyes (disclosure: I do have it on my forehead, but only subtly). But please, please, please, sagging skin around my jawline: just STOP, will you? I’m fed up with looking dour when my resting bitch face is already a skill I have perfected over the years. It doesn’t need any more encouragement.

 

2. Fluffy facial hair

No one ever said that your face gets fluffier and fluffier as you age. When you’re younger you think that it’s an old lady thing, to have all that fluffy down on your chin and cheeks, but in reality you’re a good 30-40 years younger than said old dears when the fluff comes out to play. So far I’ve avoided the wayward, long single hairs on my chin, but I reckon they’ll sprout any day now. Tweezermans at the ready.

 

3. Receding gums

It’s not all luck that I have very good teeth at 49: I really do look after them. Regular brushing, flossing and dental check-ups (at least pre-pandemic), no smoking, no excess sugar/wine/coffee. And I know that having children often wrecks your pearly whites, and as I haven’t had kids then that’s contributed towards my teeth staying strong and healthy. But GAWD – I cannot stop my gums receding. It makes my teeth (even) more sensitive. I just don’t know how far they’re going to retreat before I end up with the world’s longest gnashers because I’m already all teeth and next-to-no gum.

 

4. Sore knees

I don’t think a day goes by without my knees reminding me they’re not 20 anymore.

You’re getting up from a squat? Here’s some sharp pain. Going for a run? We thought the left one should hurt today seeing as the right one was hurting yesterday. Sat on the floor for more than 30 seconds? Let me stifle a laugh while you get up from THAT position, LOL. And remember, no Pensioner Puffing – your words, not ours!

 

5. An aversion to modern music

No matter HOW much you promise yourself this won’t happen ‘when you get old’, I guarantee you really WILL say “What IS this racket?” about modern music. It’s inevitable. If I ever catch a bit of The Brit Awards on TV, I’m only familiar with about 5% of the acts that have been nominated (and even 4% of that is because Annie Lennox has been bizarrely nominated for Best Female Artist YET AGAIN). I end up saying, “Who? WHO?” after every name that’s read out. If I happen to catch the acts performing or perhaps hear a bit of Radio 1 playing at some point in my day, I cannot stop myself saying that it’s just “noise”.

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And when you start saying how it didn’t sound like that “in my day” and that “music was proper music back then”, then you KNOW you have unavoidably crossed over into The Realm of Decrepitness.

 

6. Impervious weight gain

Something happens to your body at 45… it’s like a magnet for calories/cellulite/fat deposits. For some reason, your body likes to either 1. Set you a challenge: How resilient are you to weight gain? Shall we play a game and see just how much you can stave off the pounds while I keep throwing problem after problem at you so that you find keeping fit harder and harder? or, 2. Not consult you at all and just dump your metabolism somewhere back in 2016. I haven’t worked out which one it is yet, but in the meantime I know that it’s almost impossible to shift belly/thigh fat or avoid bingo wings, no matter how much I promised myself aged 30 that wings from the bingo wouldn’t happen to me. Hahaha…

 

7. Deteriorating eyesight

Me, age 10, at the supermarket with my mother: Why is mum holding out that soup packet so far from her face to read it? What’s with that strained wide-eyed face she’s making?

Losing your 20-20 eyesight is infuriating. Thankfully my long sight is perfect so driving, watching TV and staring out the window wondering where the year is going are all crystal clear to me (except that I never do see where the year went, I’ll tell you that now). But I’ll be damned if I can read/focus on anything within arm’s length without making my eyes so wide that you’d think I’d miraculously discovered the secret of where the past year had ACTUALLY gone.

 

8. Pensioner puffing

See intro paragraph. Stripping and remaking the bed? Oof. Standing up after doing your downward-facing dog in yoga? Oof. Picking up the heavy laundry basket of wet washing? Oof. Getting that heavy Instant Pot out the back of the cupboard? Oof, oof, oof.

 

9. Skin pigmentation

If I could go back in time and give myself some advice (for years I never knew what I’d say when reading those ‘If you could give your younger self any advice what would it be?’ questions), it’d be, Stop sunbathing, FFS. Although I haven’t exposed my face to the sun à la George Hamilton in many years (if you just said “who?” then I’m not sure why you’re reading this, except for future research purposes), the regretful after-effects are splashed all over my cheeks, jawline and down my neck. No one told me to stop sunbathing – or worse – to stop using sunbeds (😱) in my 20s. (I know, I know, I’m a terrible person. Or at least I was.) Maybe my mother would have told me to stop, but I think I knew what I was doing by not telling her I was using them. So yeah, skin pigmentation. Entirely avoidable and 100% self-inflicted.

 

10. Constant thoughts of “I’m old enough to be their mother”

Despite the fact that yes, I AM actually old enough to have children now (have you ever heard a more acute case of age denial than that) and I’m easily old enough to be a grandmother, I still get hopelessly shocked when any young-ish adult with a solid job and a mortgage could, quite easily – and without any sort of 80s or 90s era teenage shenanigans on my part – be my son or daughter. I’m in a constant state of “how did I get this old?” when it comes to the could I be their mother thing.

 

11. Night sweats

Ughhhh yeah, we’ve most likely got the Big M (or the Big Pre-M) to thank for that. It’s either that or my ability to calculate how much bedding and linen my bed needs at any particular time of year is severely compromised. Or what’s really happened is that I’ve turned into a human radiator with the dream skills of an exceptionally hyperactive party animal (with issues) that would challenge even big man Freud himself. Overactive mind? Let’s take that right through the night and let it all out via your sweat glands, shall we?

 

12. Aches, pains, and more aches

Not having at least ONE part of you that aches is a luxury I’m not sure I will ever experience again in my lifetime. A typical Day of Aches goes like this:

What hurts did you say? Well, my left knee aches like buggery and then there’s the pain running up and down the back of my right leg as I think I sat too long in one position and my neck is still painful from sleeping funny last night and oh I forgot the sore joints in my two little fingers which I can attribute to onset arthritis (because my mum’s got bad arthritis) and I mustn’t pick up my tea with my left hand as there’s still residual tennis elbow pain there and oh boy that plantar fasciitis in my foot is playing up again and did I mention the lower back pain that happened after I went to pick up my wellies that still hasn’t gone away it’s been several days now?

 

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13. The classic ‘policemen look young’ thing is REAL

We bought a new car a few weeks ago. While filling out paperwork the lovely young chap who sold us the car was telling me that it would be his birthday at the weekend… his 21st. I don’t know about you, but I always play the What Was I Doing When They Were Born? game in my head with young people. And when you work out the salesman you bought your car from was born in THIS century – i.e. his date of birth starts with a 2, not a 1 –  then you freak tf out. WHY is he not in school? WHY is his mother not out frantically looking for him? WHY does he look like an adult man with a deep voice? WHY is he wearing a suit and tie like he has a job? WHY did I work out that I passed my driving test TEN YEARS before he was even BORN?

WHY?

 

14. Bunions

Now, this I most definitely was NOT expecting. Mine aren’t altogether severe, but somehow these weird mini bunions on my LITTLE toes have appeared and grown over the years to the point that they look like my baby toes have horns. They even have a cute name: bunionettes. Awwww.

Now bugger off, you freaky little devil toe horns.

 

15. The endless search for your year of birth

When filling out online forms, to find your year of birth you’ll have to scroll, and scroll, and scroll, and scroll…

 

16. Old hands and feet

The day you notice your hands got old is almost as bad as the jowls thing. Again, it’s something that belongs to old ladies, not my 40-something self. And don’t get me started on the veiny feet – what’s THAT all about? Why so many veins? Who said they’d get old-looking and weird? No one, that’s who.

 

17. The desire to stay home

The thought of staying out past 11pm fills me with absolute horror. How – I mean HOW – did I used to go out clubbing every week and leave the house at 10pm to go catch a train from Clapham Junction into the centre of London and get to the club for about 11pm (and be one of the early ones)? And on a Friday night after a full day at work in retail where I was on my feet ALL day? I just don’t get how I could POSSIBLY, even VAGUELY consider doing that now. Instead of leaving the house to go out, at 10pm I want to be checking the front door is locked, make ‘one last cup of tea’ and hope I remembered to put my electric blanket on at least an hour ago.

 

18. The rapid passing of time

Get this: the millennium was not 10 years ago but 20 years ago. I’ll let that sink in… TWENTY YEARS*. I just don’t understand how that’s possible. Back to the Future was made 36 years ago, and Marty only went back in time by 30 years. Macaulay Culkin is, goddammit, 41 YEARS OLD. The difference in time between 1980 and now is the same as the difference in time between 1939 and 1980… I mean, WTF?! Who did this? How can next year be 2022 when last year was 2019? Wasn’t 2014 three years ago? WHO is messing with the concept of space and time?

*Been thinking about this… I’m wrong, we’re now less than six weeks away from the millennium being twenty-TWO years ago, [insert expletive here]. 

 

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Any awful (you know what I mean πŸ˜‰ ) ageing traits that you just weren’t prepared for? Which of these made you go ‘OMG YES!!’? Tell me in the comments…

Stay safe XOXO

Catherine signature

 

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40 Comments

  1. 27 November 2021 / 2:59 pm

    OMG I can’t stop laughing!!! And yes, I’m nodding like one of those nodding dogs in the back of the car (something else youngsters probably have no clue about LOL).
    Absolutely effing BRILLIANT post, Catherine!
    Hugs
    Suzy xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      30 November 2021 / 11:39 am

      Hehe you have to laugh about them all really, don’t you Suzy πŸ˜‰ – thank you!!!!

  2. Janet Green
    25 November 2021 / 9:40 am

    Keep your chin up and a smile on your face Catherine and the jowls disappear. Pracise in front of the mirror and you will see! Love the posts by the way xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      30 November 2021 / 11:41 am

      Thanks Janet – yes I do make a very concerted effort to smile, avoids the resting bitch face!! πŸ˜€

      Glad you enjoyed x

  3. Carol
    23 November 2021 / 11:37 pm

    Oh my gawd! So very funny-and absolutely true. I’m turning 67 in a couple of weeks, and a lot of what you have listed are actually things I’ve been dealing with for YEARS! I find myself wondering why my chin hairs that I pluck daily keep growing while my eyebrows that I plucked to oblivion in the 80s never grow back. Add the fact that I have slightly shaky hands (thanks Dad’s side of the family!) means that sometimes my eyebrows can start out a little, um, wonky as I try to fill them in. Oh, and the jowls…I took a stage make-up class in college and learned how to create jowls using shadows and highlights. My prof never taught me how to un-create them, although a little bit of highlighter in the hollows helps a little. I have to admit I think this is one positive consequence of mask-wearing. I only have to play up my eyes. That too will have to end soon. No amount of collagen cream is tightening the socket skin and my hooded eyes are getting lost in the flesh. Oh, don’t get me started on turkey neck. I used to love wearing turtlenecks-I live 20 miles from the Canadian border, so they are part of my winter “capsule.” Now my neck hangs over the top of turtlenecks, just like my belly over low rise jeans. I could go on, and actually did, but I deleted it. Thanks for the fun read! Carol in VT

  4. Lizzie
    22 November 2021 / 8:08 pm

    So, so funny! I nodded my head at Every. Single. One of these. Oh, and I’m ahead of you with the chin hair: I recently bought a Braun epilator to pluck out my ‘wheat stubble’. Sigh. Thanks for making me laugh about it all!

  5. Laurie F.
    22 November 2021 / 5:46 pm

    Loved this! Thanks for sharing. I’m 64 and will attest to every one of these, and then some. When they said growing old isn’t for sissies, they weren’t kidding. I’m always freaking out about the passage of time. I mean how can the 1970s be so far back there in time? The 70s, 80s, and 90s are officially ancient history–but I can still remember what I was wearing and doing then. Even more so than what I did last year!

  6. 22 November 2021 / 10:19 am

    A good laugh at this one! Yes, I have all of the above except bunions. I was blessed there. Heading into sixty I feel a little apprehensive. Anything can happen at that age, right? xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:20 pm

      TBH I think anything can happen at ANY age now, Laurie (I certainly didn’t expect jowls over wrinkles, LOL)!!

  7. 22 November 2021 / 9:08 am

    Hahaha, especially nr. 15!! Oh the horror of a middle aged woman! And yet, I hear a lot of women taking hormones for menopause and feeling so much better. Would that be the solution?????

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:22 pm

      Hehe I sometimes can’t believe how far down my year of birth is, Nancy!!!!!!

      Yes definitely HRT for the menopause, it’ll be something I ask for as soon as I think I need it. Not sure it’ll do anything for my jowls, though – think that’s a lost cause πŸ˜‰

    • Lynda
      26 November 2021 / 5:27 pm

      Absolutely! I take a very low dose of hormones due to a complete hysterectomy in my mid 40s. I have experienced very few of the symptoms on this list. I did gain weight sitting at a desk all day after my husband died. I have a pain in my toe, bunion area due to a break in my teens. I am 70 and my skin is great for a middle class woman who has had no work done. I give the hormones the credit.

  8. Sue Dunlop
    21 November 2021 / 11:23 pm

    Hilarious!
    I’m about a decade older than you so I’ve experienced it all and more. My favourite is when the doctor treating you looks about 12.

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:25 pm

      Doctors, car salesmen, policemen, teachers… they ALL look younger, Sue!!! And then there are politicians – I can’t believe that I’m older than Obama was when he became president #OMG

  9. Lynn Jones
    21 November 2021 / 10:29 pm

    Ha ha! What a great list. I did chuckle at the George Hamilton reference. Wait, how can he play Dracula and be so tan? πŸ™‚

    The fading eyesight seems to help address Everything Heading South. TBH, if my ‘hooded lids’ progress, I’m going to need matchsticks or something. That I’d like to see stop, thanks body.

    The music thing…. umm, as someone who didn’t like Radio 1 even as a teen/20 something,. I’ve kinda felt left behind by all but the big names of modern pop. I feel pretty sure I could be in an elevator with BTS or any ‘grime’ act and not know. Actually, that night be true for any artist after 1999… πŸ™‚ My soon explained Death Core to me last month.

    You talk about the seasons changing, what about fashions that loop? Bootlegs again, dungaree skirts, leggings, white trainers, the capsule wardrobe *every* summer, etc. On the plus side, if you furtle through the wardrobe, you can usually find something that’s fashionable, although stylish seems to have more of an appeal.

    Enjoy getting old. It sure beats the alternative πŸ˜€

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:28 pm

      Thanks Lynn, glad you liked this! (Btw hope it’s okay that I changed George Harrison to Hamilton in your comment, I know you meant the latter! πŸ˜‰ )

      Didn’t think about fashions going round in a loop, but oh lord you’re right. And don’t even begin with BTS with me, I think it sounds like an STD, lol!!! πŸ˜€

  10. Kelly Novak Montano
    21 November 2021 / 10:08 pm

    Love this and your take take on all 18. The passage of time is the scariest, seems to go faster with advancing age. At 63 I’m over most, but the 50’s were absolutely no picnic.

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:29 pm

      The passage of time I think IS the scariest, I think you’re right there Kelly. I guess we expect physical ageing as we see it in our mothers and grandmothers, but NO ONE tells you life will zoom by at an inordinate pace…!!

  11. Dianne Reeks
    21 November 2021 / 9:56 pm

    This made me smile. I’m 57 next week & have the Jowls & peach fuzz. I would have added a bit of hearing loss to the list. I really turn the telly up these days. I love the mornings but I do groan getting out of bed.

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:30 pm

      Thanks Dianne, that’s a shame about the hearing loss! I’m kind of expecting it a bit as my dad is pretty deaf – as far as I know(!) it hasn’t affected me yet…

  12. Tara
    21 November 2021 / 9:53 pm

    I’m 47. OMG YES! to most of these. Almost to the point that I need to carry reading glasses around. Weight gain is super annoying and it’s going to take more work to lose it. No night sweats yet….hate the jowls.

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:31 pm

      Hehe so you haven’t yet done what I’ve done Tara and that’s to get a chain for my glasses so they’re on me 24/7 – I think it’s the one thing above ALL else now I can’t leave home without!!

  13. 21 November 2021 / 4:17 pm

    This post made my day — I shared it with my mother, who turns 60 next week! We were talking about jowls yesterday. I have not verified this, but apparently natural redheads are more likely to develop jowls as they get older. Something for me to look forward to, I guess.

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:32 pm

      Gosh I have NEVER heard that about redheads, Ashton – I’m not actually a natural redhead myself but the way my jowls are going you’d think I was…!!

  14. 21 November 2021 / 3:20 pm

    OMG YES to 1 through 4 especially. I don’t mind the other symptoms so much, but those I would happily do without!

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:33 pm

      Hehe those were the first that came to mind Lisa when I wrote this – hence them being the first four! The passing of time I could do without as well πŸ˜‰

  15. Lucille
    21 November 2021 / 2:14 pm

    Yes! That’s hilarious. I’m shocked when I think back to the last time I either heard about/did/saw/read about something and it’s not been a few years but two DECADES. Wasn’t I only two decades old not that long ago?!

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:36 pm

      Urghhhhh I do that all the time Lucille, especially with movies… the other day I said “Keith, did you know that Apollo 13 was released longer ago than it was made after the event itself, i.e. it was made 26 years ago and it was set 25 years previously?!!!!” etc. etc. Movies are the worst for reminding us how much time has passed!!

  16. 21 November 2021 / 1:04 pm

    I’d say you’ve hit them all, Catherine, but #15 really made me laugh! At 61, all I can say is β€œget used to it”!

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:37 pm

      Oh god that scrolling, MK!! It goes on FOREVER…!!!!!!!! πŸ˜‰

  17. Julie
    21 November 2021 / 11:00 am

    Trying to keep fit and keep the weight down is the hardest. I keep reading you need to do more exercise in your fifties. But I just too tired to do it. If I do, I ache as I’ve never ached before for days. I have to exercise because I can not cut my calorie intake anymore. By the way, I have not done the huffing and puffing as I realise that this is really ageing. My husband started to do it and I tell him not to as it is so ageing.

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:38 pm

      I think you’re 100% right about the exercise in your 50s, Julie – I’m sure it’s all to do with your metabolism coming to a grinding halt. But I can’t stop the huffing and puffing, it kinda drives me mad that I do it without thinking, and that’s after writing this! I’m STILL doing it!!

  18. Sian Morant
    21 November 2021 / 10:57 am

    I’m nearly 61 and the jowl and turkey neck thing is a definite pain. Coupled with the fact that this winter, turtle neck jumpers are everywhere. They cut straight across the loose skin, giving an overhang that looks like a muffin top underneath your face!!!

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:39 pm

      Actually my neck is JUST starting to go, Sian…I think by this time next year it’s going to be a lot more noticeable on me! I’ve got the turkey neck muffin to look forward to next winter by the sounds of it, LOL πŸ˜‰

  19. Deb
    21 November 2021 / 10:23 am

    Thank you for my early morning laugh! I’m in my 60s and nodded in the affirmative to every one. No bunions for me yet but every single one of the others! So enjoy your blog.

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:40 pm

      Hehe glad you liked it Deb, thank you! And you’ve lucked out on the bunions, weird little things they are…!!

  20. Emma Stone
    21 November 2021 / 9:45 am

    Yes, yes, yes!!
    The jowl thing, omg why is it necessary to have a turkey neck as I get older. I really don’t need it.
    Totally with you on the aches and pains as well…….I too shall try and refrain from the old person “oofs”
    Call me Constable Stone. I am forever playing that game and also wondering how the hell I got to be 51 so quickly.
    I do still like to go out and dance my socks off though now it takes a week to get over it.

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:41 pm

      Good for you for still dancing, Emma – you’re right about the recovery time for anything strenuous, lol!

  21. 21 November 2021 / 9:33 am

    This is a very funny post. Very recognisable. I did say yes all the time haha. And you have written it so well. Hat off to you.
    Another old age thing coming up (I warn you) is losing drops of pee. You can however, stop that by doing special exercises for your pelvic floor. So at least this is one that can be mended .
    Greetje

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 November 2021 / 1:42 pm

      Thank you Greetje! And oh gawwwwwd about the pee, another joy to add to the list of things to look forward too! Right, I’m off to Google pelvic floor exercises…

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