I’m turning 50 next year. In November 2018. That’s half a century, people. 50. Freaking. Years. Old.
I thought I’d write about what turning 50 is like.
They say 50 is the new 40 and I guess it kind of is. Only with more wrinkles, more grey hair and more muscles you pulled climbing out of bed at 3am to go to the toilet because you can’t last through the night any more. It’s glamorous all right.
The interesting thing, for me, about turning 50 is how I feel about it. On the one hand, I’m a little horrified, but on the other, I had a panic attack when I turned 40. I spent months freaking out about it, and felt sick when I thought about it. On the actual day, I left town, flew to Australia and hid out with a very few of my closet friends until the storm passed. Then I slinked home and went into denial.
I deleted my year of birth from Facebook. I lied on surveys that asked how old I was. I either avoided telling anyone my age, or feigned offence that they’d asked, or just plain out reduced my age by 4 years.
I did what ever I could to erase the years. I used botox with gay abandon, increased the height of my heels, decreased the length of my skirts, started spending time with people who were almost half my age. I was a train wreck.
By 45, I’d put all that behind me. I became proud of my age. I lost the heels and the short skirts. I remembered my old friends who have stuck with me through thick and thin, who are closer to my own age, who I have a world more in common with.
At the same time, I remembered that age is but a number, that the way you live your life should reflect the way you feel, not how old you are. So I kept a few of my younger friends, whose youthful energy I love, who remind me of how I feel on the inside, and remind me to keep living that way on the outside.
Last year I stopped using botox, realising that eventually the procedures would mount up to the point of ridiculousness. Where my face would turn into a mask, a caricature of how I used to look. Not to mention the cost. I decided to embrace the wrinkles and wear them as a badge of honour.
I decided to, but I haven’t quite managed it. I still look in the mirror with horror at a new line that’s appeared, or how deep the bags under my eyes are after a lousy night’s sleep. Despite all the best intentions, I’m not sure anyone revels in growing older. I think the best you can hope for is to accept that it happens, and try not to obsess about the symptoms.
So like I said, I thought I’d write about turning 50. I’ve got 14 months to go, I promise not to write about it too much, but I’m hoping to remind myself that it’s just another milestone in the journey that is life. God forbid the high heels and short skirts make a come back!