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.)
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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…
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”.
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?
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?
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 😉 ) 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
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