I remember being a primary school kid and discovering my mother was 34. I was dazzled by how old it seemed. At 18, I was in awe of the journalists in my first newsroom. Most would have only been in their mid-20s, but they seemed so mature. When I was in my early 20s, I worked with a brigade of blokes in their mid to late 30s. I thought they were ancient and a bit scary. And anyone in their 50s was a blue-rinse grannie or Grosbie slipper-wearing grandpa.
I went to my first 50th birthday party last night. The birthday girl - yes, girl - is gorgeous and fun and definitely not grannie material.
Still, the concept of celebrating her 50th freaked me out. And not only because I’m close behind her.
She doesn’t look 50 – in my eyes she seems the same as when we met 20 years ago. She certainly doesn’t act 50. Well, not 50 as I remember it.
What’s going on? Does getting older mean age becomes less relevant, or have 50-year-olds changed since I was a wee lass?
A bit of both maybe? At least among my crowd. I spent my 20s and 30s running with a gang who did everything a bit later in life. We waited until our mid-30s to have kids, we didn’t start shopping at Millers when we hit 40, we still go to bars and restaurants and even, occasionally, bands. Husband keeps an eye on the latest music and keeps everybody shuffling. Though I could do without him getting the Sprogs singing along to Lana Del Ray in the car.
Is it a good or a bad thing? The Lana Del Ray singalongs aren’t great, the rest is up for debate.
One thing I am sure about is there’s too much botox in the equation.
I was watching Ita Buttrose on some serious ABC-type program the other night. She was discussing something important, like dementia or alzheimers. I’m a bit fuzzy on the details because I was too transfixed by her frozen face to focus on what her mouth was trying to say. It looked like she was wearing a mask. She must do lots of practice in front of a mirror because she managed to talk almost normally despite having a plaster-cast-style visage. Unlike an over-Botoxed Joanna Lumley on her Greek odyssey-style travel program that followed, who was having trouble getting the words out while trying to flirt with all the young, Greek men.
I’m not anti-plastic surgery. I want it as much as the next saggy-faced mid-40-year-old. But not if it means my face doesn’t move anymore, which is what over-eager injection of Botox seems to accomplish.
So, while I’m glad turning 50 no longer involves Osti frocks and blue-rinses, I wish women weren’t quite so focussed on erasing every single line.
Sure, watching your face wrinkle and crumple is hard. And it’s not much fun groaning every time you sit down.
Otherwise, I reckon 50 is the new black. Not the scary milestone it used to be. Looking at my friend last night, it seems like a pretty nice place to be.
But I’m glad I still have seven years to get used to the idea.