Whose hands are these?
I could write reams about the sadness I feel at the slow, but relentless degradation of my body. I shall skim over the details lest it put you off your skinny latte, suffice to say that I now have more curves than angles and about as much spring-back-ability in my skin as a piece of broken knicker elastic.
I’ve changed my mind – have a few details: I now have what I like to call “silver highlights”, though who I think would actually sit in the hairdresser’s with foils on their head to achieve this effect I have no idea. Over time, my foundation wear (what a lovely, old-fashioned phrase!) has become more about containment and less about boasting and I sometimes find myself hunting for “comfortable” knickers. You know, ladies, the kind that your grandmother told you would “keep your kidneys warm”.
Failing eyesight helps, of course. I was sitting in the garden with my daughter last summer and casually remarked (as you do) that I was saving a fortune on waxing as the hair on my legs just doesn’t seem to grow as fast any more. She raised an eloquent eyebrow at me. “Go and get your glasses, Mum,” she advised. OMG! as I would have to say if I was texting.
Speaking of legs, mine, I have to report, do not like being parted for long. I ill-advisedly went horse riding a year ago and after an hour in the saddle my hips had frozen into position so that I couldn’t dismount. I had to be lifted – quite literally – from the saddle by a stablehand and placed, deformed and agonised, on a mounting block. I hasten to add that the stablehand then walked away – this is not that kind of story. Besides, these days, in the bedroom, I am less likely to cry out in passion than I am in pain as I am convulsed with cramp.
But these trials are as nothing when I catch a glimpse of my hands. Whose hands are these? It’s as if a malevolent gnome has crept into my room at night, armed with liposuction equipment and sucked out all the fat on my fingers. My fingers, you stupid bloody gnomes – didn’t you read the training manual? You’re welcome to the fat in my thighs, I needed the stuff in my fingers! My knuckles have grown baggy, the backs of my hands wrinkle at the slightest touch and I go through hand cream the way the England football team go through excuses.
I would like to kid myself that I am beyond such vanity, that I actually like the way my eyes disappear like shy currants when I laugh. “Every wrinkle tells a story”, my grandmother used to say.
Bollocks. Every wrinkle makes me less recognisable to myself!
Seriously, do I really, really care? On one level, yes I do, if I’m honest. Sure, there are far worse tragedies that have befallen me, let alone wider humanity, than the marks of age which are arriving thick and fast. I wish I wasn’t so shallow that I could see beyond my poor old hands in a photo to the happy smile that generally accompanies half a glass of wine (my limit).
At least my wrinkles mostly curve upward: a legacy of keeping a smile on my face even through the darkest times. And on another level, there are far too many more interesting things to occupy my mind than how I look. It’s not as if other people notice much – becoming invisible in middle age is not such a bad thing! Nor is failing eyesight. If I don’t look too closely, I barely notice. I guess that’s the answer to the “problem” – I think I’ll turn my attention to more interesting things!
This article can be found in my book: “Oh Crap – I’m 50! A Journey from Fearful to Fabulous (Sometimes)” Available on Amazon
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© Jo Blackwell