Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The seven ages of woman. Or, why I'm not having a happy birthday.

It's my birthday today. Apart from the cake, I'm not particularly happy about this. (Cue compulsory 'at least I'm still here', blah blah, disclaimer.)

Lots of people today have wished me happy birthday. People younger than me.

It's kind of them, but as far as I'm concerned it's just another sunless January day; another day in the office.  Nothing happy about it.

And I keep thinking about the number that I'm too ashamed to tell them. How did I get to be 'mid-fifties'? I haven’t got used to being 50 yet. This isn't me.

And I know it just gets worse.

I try not to judge people by their age, but if I need to I tend to put them into fairly broad categories. In chronological order:
  1. Babies and children.
  2. Young people.
  3. I've no idea how old you are, so I'm not going to say anything.
  4. About our age.
  5. The next generation.
  6. About my mum's age.
  7. Old.
The problem is when you get it wrong. I thought that someone I know was in the 'next generation' category – you know, around retirement age. Then I found out she is four years older than me. That's about the same as the gap between me and my youngest sister. It's not that this person looks (or acts) old, just that it doesn't feel as if she's 'about my age'.

And it scares me. It scares me that I'm next. It scares me that there's around twenty years of your adult life pre-middle age (see category 2) where you stay looking pretty much the same, then suddenly changes start happening. And keep happening, too fast for you to keep up. It scares me that you're not given enough time to get used to it. It scares me that in a year's time, I'll look two years older than I do now.  And it scares me that I've just wasted another day, not being happy.


  1. Happy birthday? I counted up my achievements for my 50th - didn't take long. But still, important to enjoy those Elvis+ years. And don't think it's too late - almost certainly isn't.