Tag Archives: age

Symptoms of my advancing ageĀ 

21 Jan

 Last week I discovered my most traumatic sign of ageing yet: an unruly, freakishly long, grey eyebrow hair. Just the one. It snuck up on me; initially I assumed it was a casualty of my haphazard approach to eyebrow taming, but as the week progressed it made its presence increasingly clear, until even I had to admit that it wasn’t just one normal one not sitting quite right.

I excised it, but it made me realise that my body is starting to make some age-related decisions of its own, whether I like it or not. They suddenly presented themselves to me in precise clarity. 

I have to dye my hair more regularly (I know, the very fact I do dye it at all will come as a shock, I am sure, as I am delusional).

I make odd involuntary noises upon sitting, standing or even breathing after any time spent sedentary, and rub my hands over my face and through my hair regularly, for no particular reason.

I have discovered a sinister intolerance for the cold which is mostly playing itself out in my right middle finger. Somehow all the chill concentrates in that single digit, turning it to the touch several degrees below the temperature of the other nine (or seven, if you are a thumb purist).

I am obsessed with dehumidifiers. I prowl the rooms of the property on the alert for rogue condensation droplets and their slightly further down the line bedfellow, black mould spores. There are two different dehumidifiers in my wardrobe alone, and a bulk pack of eighteen in the utility room, in case of an unexpected global shortage.

And my vocabulary is decimated. I have banned use of the words ‘thing’ and ‘stuff’ at home due to the increased reliance – mainly by me – on these convenient catch-all’s, which in the past led to such paragons of articulate clarity as ‘the stuff is on the thing’ and ‘without the thing we can’t get the stuff’. However since implementing this ban, I can scarcely speak without great stretching pauses as I cast around for the word I actually meant but which has been conveniently in the past replaced by ‘thing’, and expansive gesticulating.

This is just a few – if you spot any more around me, please let me know. I may cry, but knowledge is power.

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Life begins…

25 Feb

This is a post that I have been putting off for ages, because it is regarding a subject that I am not dealing with well. My lack of desire to confront this particular pachyderm in the property means that it was (until inspired by Madonna’s fall!) many weeks since last I put thumb to touchscreen, suffering in silence from a refusal to man up (awful phrase – but addressing why it is an awful phrase is not a subject for now) to this one.

In a handful of days time I will be celebrating my 21st birthday.

Again.

The eagle eyed will note that I am still failing to confront actual reality, but this is as far as it goes.

I can’t put a touchscreen-avoiding finger on why it matters. After all, it is inevitable. There is a grace about growing older without complaint which I would like to model and indeed growing older is a gift. Many many people I know well – my own husband for starters – have effectively navigated the rocky shores of this particular decade’s demise (or should
I say, a new decade’s dawning – the glass half full interpretation) with nothing like this amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth (yup, these teeth are mainly still all my own, I am proud to announce).

And my last milestone birthday (18, of course, from my current unrealistic age acknowledging) passed in a blur of new-ish baby-ness and massive work-ness, so it will be nice to tackle this one with an active awareness and deliberate enjoyment.

I need to draw upon my reserves of optimism and ‘get over yourself’-ness and confront it head on. There is no conclusion nor solution to this, which makes acceptance necessary. So here goes.

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A decade with my daughter

6 Mar

My girlHow do I write about love? The start of my greatest love coincided precisely with the first time I knew exactly what fear is. And it didn’t start with anything I could previously classify as ‘love’. So to write about this love, I think I have to go back and look at its beginning.

We weren’t well, my girl and I, when she first arrived. I strode in to deliver her confident that I would be viewing dawn the next day as a mother; and crept out ten days later ultimately triumphant but nonetheless for a while diminished somehow, shrunken by circumstances and an experience that left a mark so deep-rooted it took nearly five years to vocalise and a further five – give or take – to be able to write it down. I walked into hospital away from one side of my life and walked out through the same door into the other, where I have been ever since.

Love didn’t start in the way I expected either. When she first arrived, it wasn’t love, it was instinct. She was mine to protect and I would have ripped out the eyes of anyone who tried to come between us (I still would), but I didn’t look at her and feel my heart swell. More, I looked at her and my heart and whole being contracted in, clenched and shrinking around the hard solid immovable nut of my responsibility for her and the drive that she was mine to protect. I remember in hospital fading fast with sheer exhaustion maybe a week after she was born and thinking they have to take her from me for the night because I have to sleep, nothing else is open to me. And they saw that in me, and they did take her, and I did sleep, and I woke four hours later in the quiet dim-light hospital dusk and she was still taken and the wrongness of it propelled me out of bed to the nurses’ station ‘Where is my daughter?’ and she was there, of course, they were enjoying her and giving me a break, but that feeling, that urgent need to have her close, it still wasn’t love, as I previously knew it.

That kind of love, that crept up on me stealthily, six or so weeks later, after days and nights of confusion and uncertainty and not being able to work it out, constant fog of fear punched through with vibrant bright sparks of joy. We were quiet and calm, in the garden outside. It was the end of April and the sun was shining, the Choicia filled the air with a scent of heady positivity and all the leaves were green. It was a good time, and a right time, to be a growing baby and the time I started to feel my own rejuvenation. We looked at each other, my girl and I, as she kicked her legs on the grass, and I knew then that regardless of all the rest, it really would be alright. And I think first of all that emotion wasn’t love, it was relief; but right then, they felt very similar. I could see the path, the forwards direction, and there we were, finally on it.

My girl, my life, my best decade; the benchmark – along with her brother – against which all the decisions I make are measured; my ultimate impact statement, my central question – ‘if I do this, what will happen for her?’. Before she was born, life was a wonderful adventure, because I didn’t have life with her to measure it against. Before her wasn’t lacking, but with her a piece I had no idea was missing suddenly fell into place. This is my love letter, it’s warts and all. When all’s said and done, she’s not joined to me anymore, my little miracle, that ended a whole decade ago. It is the fact of her independent being, in body, thought, word and deed; that is the most miraculous thing of all. Happy 10th birthday, my daughter.