So Who Am I? – Part 1

Who Am I?

I had an interesting conversation with a girlfriend some years back; we were discussing how I felt and what I thought about me – where I fitted now that daughters had left home (though the youngest returned). I told her that I honestly hadn’t given it any thought. She mentioned the three stages in a woman’s life, the Maiden – the pure, modest and chaste. The Mother – a woman has born a child or has nurtured one and the Crone – when a woman is near or past Menopause and acknowledges her age, wisdom and power. So I am now in my Crone years – ah how that lifts my spirits no end!

I have past through my childhood, my teens, young adulthood; adulthood, motherhood and the menopause hurdle. I should be accepting of who I am, I know myself extremely well (my good and bad points).

First and foremost I would like to think that I am a good friend to those that are close to me. My temperament can be extremely moody (well l am a Cancerian) and I have a tendency even I can admit to being a bit of a drama queen. I can accept people and there faults to quite a large extent. If I had to air my thoughts on something someone had said that has upset or offended me, I would try and approach it light-heartedly.

I believe I am a friendly, gregarious and generous person. I have the ability to make people laugh, with some of my friends saying I should have been on the stage and some say sweeping it.

I’m not without vices, how many of us are and to assume one is perfect at my age or any age for that matter is a sure sign they are deceiving themselves. Much to my detriment I have an addictive nature, I still smoke, though I did give it up for seven years when my girls were little. I enjoy drawing, painting and even managed to sell an oil painting some years back, I have toyed with the idea of getting back into painting but that is all I have done ‘toyed’. I’ve attended classes on writing and illustrating children’s and writing for adults.

I had been extremely fortunate not to have real money concerns, I am not rolling in it by any means, I still work full-time and find myself reasonably comfortable and as the saying goes we ‘get by’. I see other women who have wardrobes full of shoes or bags, or clothes. I look at my rather sorry wardrobe and realise I only buy clothes for myself maybe a few times a year, though this has changed more so over the past year especially with the stretchy light fabrics mentioned earlier. When I do buy new clothes I have to force myself to reach for something different, it’s not that I don’t like colours, the older I get the more colourful my wardrobe has become for some reason but I guess I just play it ‘safe’ with black, white and greys. I wonder what if anything that says about me as a person.

Turning 50

A milestone, we now are catching a glimpse of our mortality and making a choice about what in fact we want to achieve if anything for the rest of it. By now, we know what is important and what isn’t, what needs to be taken to heart and when we can laugh unabashedly at others and ourselves. We’ve been doing all, or almost all of the things we’re supposed to be doing for the last fifty years and we’ll continue (most of them anyway) because these are things we want in our life. The ageless woman is purported to be confident and comfortable in her own skin, not matter what age ( I don’t think I have portrayed that about myself so far). There is, so I am led to believe tremendous sex appeal in having this confidence. There are times when I do look in the mirror and think I look ‘hot’ – ok so don’t laugh, there are however equal amount of times when I look in that same mirror and pull the sides of my face up – showing me  how I may look after a face lift and I smile. Maybe it’s merely a case of acquiring a more positive attitude with my own being, having this ‘make – up’ would be a thousand times better than the most expensive cream. Everyone can look upon women who aren’t necessarily beautiful in the conventional sense, yet these women are accepted and admired for their inner sex appeal and beauty. Maybe I should stop micro-scoping my imperfections as much as I do.

One of my closest friends that I use to work with would always say to me “Baby we’re here for a good time – not a long time”. The obvious theory behind this is to enjoy every moment, live as day as if it were your last, funny how I didn’t pay much attention to that before, but now l do.

The morning of my 50th birthday I remember waking and thought to myself ‘Well girl you made it, how do you feel? As expected absolutely no different whatsoever. What on earth was I expecting to happen? Did I think on waking that I’d need a walking frame to hobble from the bedroom or help from the bed? The fact of facing the number did not hold the quite the importance now as it once had. I had jumped the massive hurdle and survived! I had conquered; it was achieved, complete and final. There was no hiding in a corner, nor under my bed covers. The following day passed and I went into day two of my ‘golden’ years. Are there any women, who look forward to the prospect of getting older, I’d say not. What can we do to stop it- not a bloody thing!

So Who Am I – Part 2

My weight on the scales now fluctuates between fifty-nine to sixty one kilograms (trying to stop the later proves more difficult). Some weeks are better than others, but its like my body has said ‘ENOUGH’ this is the weight you are meant to be so deal with it!’ I’m at a loss some days to understand. I ended my gym membership and my partner and I bought a treadmill and home (weights)gym. I am pleased to say I use said equipment approximately 4 to 5 times per week, and apart from a bag of licorice allsorts or snakes I have quite a healthy “normal” diet, but for some reason with the exercising and the odd intermittent over consumption of sugar l can’t loose any more. It has to be an age thing. I can see you nodding your head, are you relating to me? (Surely this is a good sign refer to paragraph 1). Perhaps the ‘muscle weighs heavier’ theory is correct and if so I should look like the Governor of California – Arnie what’s- his -name. But alas it’s noticeable (to me at any rate) and I wish that l was one of these women who can say “Yes l think my body is looking quite reasonable for my age- I’m happy ” but I’m not there quite yet, question is will l ever be?

Unfortunately when I don a bra, I shake my head at the sight of the extra fold or two of skin that appears over the top and at the sides (rather like a squeezed tube of toothpaste). In fact it’s a case of lean forward and jam in the excess to prevent more over-hang! Can I put it down to just an ill-fitting bra perhaps? (Thank god I’m not big in the boob department though yes would have liked a little more..just to have a cleavage would have been lovely thank you). I notice how my skin wrinkles up on my forearm similar to corrugated iron (at least I’ve returned to the humorous) when I bend my arm a certain way, or the skin on my legs looks drier and thinner, not to mention the turkey skin crepe neck? Bruises, cuts remain for longer now, not fading in a day or two as they use to. The back of my hands, such a tell tale sign of age, the only way I can make them appear young and is to clench my fist.  My kneecaps are starting to crease a little more and drop further towards my feet.  Yes everything appears to be going south as we are told with age.

The extra flesh on the top of my hips (muffin tops) is just one of the parts of the female anatomy that is so difficult to get rid of and of course one or two (ok more than that) facial lines around the mouth and under my eyes. Character lines we are told, laugh lines, no just plain ‘you’re getting older girl’ lines I tell my self. Oh sweet youth where have you gone?

I realise that is probably why I had so much difficulty choosing clothes to wear, the clothes that would once reveal an average and reasonably shaped body had gone forever (in my eyes anyway) and I knew that my mid life years had ascended. That’s why the walking was scrapped and the gym took its place. Yes ’any’ exercise is good for you, but if you want quicker results albeit tough some days, working out on a treadmill, cross trainer, bike, doing weights is the only way to go they say, BUT at the same time you must watch your food intake.. sugar, carbs blah blah blah.

I remember looking upon my own mother when I was younger, looking at her skin and her body shape changing and thinking to myself is that going to be my body? Not that we would ever think that our mothers look abysmal (because we’d be in major trouble if they ever found out we thought that way for starters), but I think we scrutinise or at least I did at a younger age how they looked when they were older and I wondered if my body shape would be similar at her age.

Unfortunately and inevitably the answer was yes more than likely. I am delighted in saying that both my parents look extremely young for their age still (so let’s hope I’ve inherited those genes). No matter how much we may detest or protest, our bodies will change, unless of course you’re able to afford plastic surgery on a regular basis. I’m not ashamed to admit I secretly wish that I could have all that back again. Society as a general rule favours smooth skin and slimness over middle age, wrinkles and spare tires! But does that automatically make us more attractive? (Yes I’ve slipped back to the dark side – best get yourself more wine)

I don’t know if I can or want to grow old gracefully as is purported. Peering into the mirror asking “Where are you, where is the girl, the young woman l knew?” With the answer tongue in cheek “Oh yes there you are, your mother”.  I desperately try to maintain my weight, watch what I eat and drink (as I mentioned most of the time) however my body shape has altered. Put down to menopause and my advancing years. I was generally a size twelve, then went to a ten and sometimes on a good month down to an eight. Now due to my fluctuation on the scales (yes l weight myself daily and now take note of grams now) I either reach for my skinny clothes or my fat ones (hands up, yes we all have a wardrobe like this).

The clothing manufacturers sadly have such an unrealistic spectrum when it comes to clothes sizes. Just when you think you are ‘safe’ trying on a pair of size 10 jeans, low and behold you step into them, get them to your upper thighs (with a bit of wiggling and jumping about in the change room) only to find that your hips are in the way. “Damn” you mutter under your breath, why aren’t they fitting? Then you become disillusioned because you know you have 3 other size 10 pairs of jeans hanging in your wardrobe and you hadn’t eaten anything for the last two days before this shopping spree. They should equip dressing rooms with beds (just like the good old days when we squeezed/sucked our bodies into jeans by lying down).


My Thoughts

Commence prattling.

A while ago I sifted through some photos. One in particular reflected two beautiful young women, tanned unblemished skin, hair and make up done and dressed in stunning clothes. I gaze on this photo, how absolutely gorgeous they are. How much they have ahead of them, being able to do and acquire whatever they desire in life. They are my daughters. Whilst looking at these photos, I saw my life at that point and I envied them.

Natural changes that have occurred within me and within my family as the years pass. I openly admit that I have the desire to have the youthfulness and beauty as my girls do back again and yes I did get a microscopic twang of jealousy, is this uncommon? On the other hand, is it simply that I didn’t want my ‘babies’ to grow up?


(This is the time I ask you to grab that glass of wine for l have immersed into the deep and meaningful for a bit). The body as we know it is the vehicle for conveying the first undeniable awareness of no longer being youthful. One can be youthful on the inside and think the same way as we did when we were younger, but the outside casing that what is visible is the sign that we are no longer young.

We resist our ageing for as long as humanly possible, was I was overly concerned with the concept of turning fifty the ‘mid way’ point in my life? (Assuming I live to 100) Yes l was. The realisation that over the next thirty or forty years would bring impending frailty, dependence on others and morbidly the final outcome the end of my life. (God where is THIS coming from? Bear with me it shouldn’t lighten up soon). We consider fifty in fact to be the half way mark, the loss of youth and the onset of ‘change of life’ which also brings the loss of reproductivity, (not that that part worried me to any great extent). I dearly would have loved to have a third child, but in hindsight wondered if my nerves or lack of tolerance would have coped with having another!

In early 1994 I was detected with Endometriosis, it was asked of me by my gynecologist that while I was having a cauterization would I want to have my tubes tied. John my ex husband (oh and by the way names have been changed to protect the innocent – obviously for a reason l thought necessary but for the life of me at this point can’t understand why) was happy with having two girls, but inside I knew I would have liked a chance of having another child. I remember lying in the hospital bed deeply upset as the reality of not being able to bare any more children struck me. I don’t know why I didn’t mention it to John at the time, to let him how I truly felt about it, but I cried as I lay on that hospital bed. lt seemed surreal  that the hospital that I gave birth to both my babies was the place where I also ceased to have any more.

Do I ‘feel’ 58 (some days I do) but how should 58 feel? The changes in my body have become more and more evident as the years pass. In the old scale I am five foot five and a half (the half an inch I always regarded as highly important). My weight over the years has fluctuated anywhere from sixty-four kilos to fifty-six kilos. Trying to maintain one’s weight at a certain level is extremely difficult, and more so as you get older. For a long time the only exercise I did apart from housework was walking, then I hit the gym signing up each year for 3 years and I turned into quite the gym junkie until the dreaded injuries started.

Firstly the hamstring strain and the quad muscles that were so tight they were could snap like an elastic band (according to my physiotherapist). No sooner had l healed from that my left elbow started playing up, so no weights for a month. Then there are the shin splints, the heels aching from jogging too much or over doing my quest for a toned fit body. Apart from the slight set backs the benefits have been my ‘fat back’ diminishing, my legs are getting a little more toned and I have re-acquainted my body to a waistline…oh and I gave up on the gym.

So yes, though the body goes through so many changes, as long as I remain young at heart, young in mind, I think I’ll be okay.