Why is it that I always know with absolute certainty that I would appreciate things (more) in my life 20 or so years after they have occured? My youth for example. I would really, truly, fully appreciate just how fabulous it is to be 22 today. I would make a MUCH better 22 year old NOW! I think I would have a better time now. Not back in blimmin' 1990! All this started with a tremendous slap in the face earlier this week when I realised that the heartmelting singer Paolo Nutini is 22 years old. Young enough to be my son, in fact. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem being in my forties (much) - it's just that I look incredulously at the vast number of young people around me. There's so many of them. I used to be them. There was a time when nobody was younger than me except babies and schoolchildren. Now 'suddenly' (ha!) pretty much 80% of the people surrounding me are younger than me. And they all look so confident, groovy and sussed (did I ever look like that?) with their entire lives ahead of them. I know, I should just wake up and smell the cigar smoke, but I don't want to. I'm kind of teetering on the edge, not quite ready to take the plunge into mature womanhood, grey hair and all (although I am warming to the idea, what with all the style forecasts pointing in that direction anyway...). I still hanker after those years of carelessness where wrinkle creams existed only in ads, not in my bathroom cabinet. What'll it take for me to get over it and just let go? A few more chromotherapy sessions would help. I'm not so much worried about being old(er), I'm more mourning my youth - I enjoy looking at young people but I also feel a teensy bit sorry for myself because whilst I was their age, I felt immortal and very, very empowered. These days I have a ticking noise in my ear, it's not very loud - in fact some days I can hardly hear it at all - but it's definitely there.
I sympathise with all the ladies that are in this age group - a bit like me teetering on the edge or well and truly over the edge but not able to come to terms with it or embrace that new part of womanhood. Most of my friends are so cool about it and just don't give a damn and that's how it should be. But there are a few that are anxious and feel under quite a bit of pressure to look a certain way. Studying the likes of Überfrau Helen Mirren above, it does become blatantly obvious to me that to be happy with the outside, you need to be happy on the inside. And now, in a final attempt to get things into perspective, please repeat after me: "There's no solution to ageing, because it's just not a problem".
The picture above of Helen Mirren is one of my all-time favourites and speaks for itself, I think.