Middle Age And Too Much Time For Over-Thinking

I can’t decide if over-thinking, forgetfulness and distraction are all part of my impending senility or because I am on the cusp of empty-nesting and have less hands-on parenting to preoccupy me.

 

Too Much Time To Think
Found on theinspiredroom.net

 

It’s funny how, once the long-awaited moment arrives and the nest finally begins to empty, you suddenly find yourself with too much time to think.

 

I get so easily distracted these days. Last night I got sidetracked as I cooked dinner and found myself deciding whether or not to invite these new clients to our Christmas party, and burnt the chicken. There I was, weighing up the pros: they are French and I am a Francophile; she seems fun; I could use some new, fun friends; they like drinking – (always a draw).

 

And the con: I wouldn’t be able to get completely shit-faced and provide my friends with enough raucous entertainment to be the subject of every dinner party of 2015, at my own Christmas drinks party.

 

And before I knew it, the meal on our plates had rivalled the old man’s most disastrous barbeque-cheffing disaster of 2009, which had the carcinogenic qualities of a tree caught in a summer bush fire. 

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...
This is a “thought bubble”. It is an illustration depicting thought. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

To recover from another of my questionable meals, I then wasted valuable Madame Secretary-time pontificating about whether my second glass of wine would be the one to give me cirrhosis of the liver.

 

I decided against the newbie French friends and to risk the cirrhosis.

 

This morning I thought angry, retributional (not a real word, apparently, but should be) thoughts for a good twenty minutes as I peddled frantically, (counting every second), on the exercise bike – they were mainly directed at why the fact I have to exercise at all.

 

Then, at my doctor’s appointment this morning, I found it impossible to concentrate on the real reason I was there when I became sidetracked by her absolutely vile, multi-coloured, patterned, nylon dress – (and, just saying, but she must be earning a fortune). I also pondered about why her tone with me was a little off, and came to the conclusion that she considers me a ‘time-waster.’

 

I considered Kurt’s future at least ten times an hour today, which is almost as much as men think about sex, apparently.

 

The thing is…It was not so long ago that I didn’t have time to think about anything other than responding to the perpetual bittersweet singsong of ‘MUM…MUM…MUMMMMM!’ – particularly during what a friend of mine and I called the ‘witching hour’ of the day.

 

The witching hour was what should have been that beautiful bonding time between parents and their children between the hours of 4.30pm and 6pm.

 

OUR children, however, were not textbook and were too tired to be human at that time of day, and instead were cranky, despondent and frankly vile, and would torment us with whines, eye rubs and tantrums until we could finally put them down (to bed!) and open the bottle of wine.

 

While other mothers of ‘perfect/normal/smugly contented’ children were singing, reading and snuggling up to their kids for a pre-bedtime cuddle, my friend and I counted down the seconds to wine-time, gave our spawn premature baths to pass the time, shoved in the dummy every time they opened their mouths to protest and clock-watched until the earliest time we could feasibly put them to bed.

 

‘Witching hour’ is very quiet in our house these days. I almost miss that whining.

 

NC exiles herself to the BF’s house most days – he has definitely replaced me in her affections – either that or she is working hard to earn money to spend on aforementioned boyfriend.

 

And Kurt’s ‘Top Gear’ marathon starts as soon as he returns home from school, with only a short pit stop for food, before he disappears back to his testosterone-infused man cave and the wisdom of Jeremy Clarkson for dessert.

 

So, until the old man gets home, in between finishing work, self-medicating and stuffing my face with dinner, it is strangely quiet in the apartment. Spookily quiet, except for the reassuring sound of the Princess scratching her fleas and bumping into my feet under my desk to remind me it’s nearly dinner time.

 

There’s almost too much time to think.

 

And I wish I could finish this post by impressing you about what I think about, such as deep, meaningful and philosophical thoughts about the state of humanity, global warming or the oil crisis, but alas, my mind gets far too bogged down with Cosmopolitan-level girly shit, to make it to urgent world matters.

 

I can ruminate for hours about where the time went and how I forgot to paint my toe nails, which means I can’t wear sandals. I can torture myself for hours over what a bad friend I am because I never call anyone – then waste at least 3 hours worrying about it and self-hating, yet I still don’t call. I can fret for an hour about what to cook for dinner and what the best way is to cajole the old man into buying a takeout.

 

There’s a lot to be said for being younger, ridiculously busy and having no time for distraction. My production line is much more efficient when I can hardly breathe. Quieter weeks, with the luxury of time to think about what I need to do, lead me to distraction and over-thinking, and although lists help and keep me focused to a degree, they only help when I remember to refer back to them.

 

But they are the future – they are the only real chance I have of achieving anything these days.

Renee’s New Face And What Our Reaction Says About Women

English: Renee Zellweger in Miss Potter Premie...
English: Renee Zellweger in Miss Potter Premiere 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I too am guilty of judging Renee Zellweger when I first saw those shots of her ‘new’ face splashed across my Facebook homepage. Shocked at first, I admit to then experiencing a secret, guilty pleasure that the sweet and natural face of Bridget Jones has aged like the rest of us.

It’s unfortunate for celebrities that when they make the choice to disappear from the public eye for a while, they are expected to look exactly the same way when they return. Which is why many of them resort to plastic surgery – to keep the Peter Pan dream alive.

For females celebrities, that expectation is even greater. And therein lies the problem.

My reaction to Renee’s face was not to question WHY she chose to have plastic surgery – if the press are to be believed, she’s been doing that for a while now (and I personally believe that every woman has a choice about what they do to their own body) – but I did question why she needs to cover up the life story on her face?

The argument for plastic surgery from such celebrities in the movie industry, is that women are left out in the cold, professionally, once they begin to age; whereas men become more bankable, more distinguished and sexy.

 

But the reaction to Renee’s facial metamorphosis hasn’t helped the cause of those women who continue to fight against the discrimination that women are judged more by their looks than men. What it has proved, though, is that although we resent a society that judges women on their looks, many of us are guilty of doing the same thing.

Renee’s New Face And What Our Reaction Says About Women
Found on Pinterest.com

While many middle-aged women condemn society for treating them as ‘invisible’, they are often the first to point the finger at other woman for how they look and live their lives.

Plastic surgery is a choice, just as abortion is a choice and just as Amal Amaluddin made a choice by changing her surname to Clooney. ‘Choice’ is what we women have always fought for.

Which is why we don’t have the right to challenge other women about the choices they make.

Surprisingly, Renee has responded to the press in justification of her new look. She hasn’t admitted to any ‘work’, but she has conceded that she looks different, with the explanation that her new face is the result of a new and happier lifestyle, away from the limelight.

There’s no doubt that past experience and your personal life story begin to etch your face once you hit your forties. Those tell-tale lines, whether they emanate from alcohol, sleepless nights, illness or stress, carve visual memories as the rest of the body adapts to the next phase of life.

Like stretch marks, some women choose to wear those lines with pride, others will try to hide them.

It’s funny how you don’t really notice yourself ageing as you get older, though. When I look in the mirror these days, I’m not horrified by my reflection. I see the same face I’ve had all my life, and it’s only when I see photos of myself that I think WTF.

But am I bothered enough to conceal the story my face tells and pretend to be something I’m not? I have nothing against plastic surgery, but for me, at this stage of my life, it’s strangely liberating not to be judged by my looks, to be invisible or visible if I choose to be.

To have a choice.

As long as I never become invisible to the people that I care about.

The Only Way To Celebrate Your Middle-Aged Birthday When You’re Menopausal

The Only Way To Celebrate Your Middle Aged Birthday
Eat healthily!

Peri-menopause is a bitch, or that’s probably how my son Kurt would describe it.

 

THERE! I said the M word out loud – cue all two of my male readers to cough uncomfortably and exit the page as fast as their mouse can click.

 

But it’s a little known fact (unless you already this blog) that the best way to cure hormonal outrage is to shop. And I like to practise what I preach.

 

I’ve always thought that birthdays are over-rated, but if it hadn’t been for my birthday this week, I might have committed first degree murder such was the mindfuckery caused by my level 10 peri-menopause symptoms.I blame my state of psychosis on a) fucking around with my hormone levels in a backfiring attempt to feel less psychotic and b) the Princess sleeping between us in what is already a sauna of a bedroom and hence not getting enough beauty sleep.

The Only Way To Celebrate Your Middle Aged Birthday
Looking attractive all the time, will boost your confidence!

 

But because it was my birthday this week I couldn’t just wallow in the foetal position and rock in between drooling at photos of The Bachelor on my special day; I had to pretend to be human for the sake of the members of my family who were excited for me, (and who have also taken to concealing weapons in their bedrooms for self-protection reasons recently). So I locked the kitchen knife drawer, hid the scissors and photos of the old man, plastered a fake smile and the reddest lippy on my face and actually ended up having a great day.

 

You see the old man believed (wisely, as it turns out) that if he threw enough cash in my face, he could get away with NOT buying me another birthday present that I don’t want.

 

And he was right. Because I really AM that shallow.

 

So off I headed to Pitt St Mall on Tuesday morning and spent an orgasmic six hours trying on every pair of sparkly shoes and LBD in David Jones, interspersed with a very pleasant lunch date with my husband in the Oyster Bar, because I had to make him suffer somehow I felt I should include him, and very soon I began to feel remarkably better about the whole getting older, fatter and uglier thing.

 

I might have mentioned the medicinal values of Champagne before.

 

The Only Way To Celebrate Your Middle Aged Birthday
Brand new shoes, sparkly shoes – better than sex!

I shopped ‘til I fucking dropped and bought all sorts of shit that I don’t really need never usually lavish on myself, like jewellery and lingerie and the most gorgeous pair of super-expensive sparkly FLAT mules, and the day transformed itself into a complete ME-FEST to become undeniably one of the best days of my life!

 

I finally felt complete!

 

 

 

Still sucks being 49, though! Not quite old enough to blame Menopause on my personality metamorphosis or feel completely chez-moi in the plus-size, granny-pant departments of David Jones that I’m strangely drawn to these days. Yet old enough to feel cranky for absolutely no fucking reason, particularly towards that breed of stunning young bitches in white coats who insist on spraying expensive perfume in my eyes in the makeup department like they have some sort of fucking death wish.

8 Survival Tips For Middle Age

When I was young and had no concept of my own mortality and thought that being over twenty-five was like SOOOO fucking old, I found it hard to believe that life could possibly begin at forty.

Well, I’m now approaching fifty and I’m thinking I might have been right all along.

Admittedly, there are some bonuses to getting older, but there is some shit that happens in middle-age that, frankly, you can never be prepared for.

Here are my survival tips to help you through:

1. The Regret Backpack

Backpack
Backpack (Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360)

Sitting in traffic the other day, the old man looked at the car in front of him, let out a big sigh and said, ‘I suppose I’ll never have an Aston Martin now.’

No-one warns you that if you let it, a permanent ‘regret backpack’ containing all the things you wish you’d done by now, would try to break your back in middle age. There comes a point at this time of your life (and for me it happened around forty-five) when you suddenly realise with earth-shattering clarity that each day might be your last, so don’t waste them with regrets.

My Tip: Dump the regrets as fast as you dump the boring people in your life and remember, it’s never too late….

2. When Your Body Starts Falling Apart

You were prepared for the lines, the wrinkles and the sticky-out fugly veins all over your body, but no-one warned you about gnarly feet, bunions and lumps and bumps that suddenly appear around your joints so that your feet only fit into sensible footwear now.

Or that your vajayay would never really feel the same as it did before you plopped your second nine-pounder and spoilt your chances of having a satisfying sex life again.

My Tip: Learn some Kegel exercises and invest in some vaginal cones so that at least one area of your body remains youthful.

3. Living With Teenagers

You can never prepare yourself fully for teenagers. Teenagers look like adults, eat like adults, think they’re adults but don’t think like adults. They maintain the mental self-absorption qualities of toddlers. Little kids are physically exhausting, mentally taxing (and let’s be honest, quite annoying most of the time) but teenagers suck the life-blood out of you. You spend their childhood trying to teach them right from wrong and then suddenly, overnight, they know everything.

Teenagers treat the house like a hotel and monopolize everything, including the tv, bathrooms, food, every communal space and even your own personal stuff. Teenagers become really invasive right at the same time that you are beginning to crave some inner peace.

My Tip: Don’t make those parasitic critters too comfortable at home and they’ll eventually leave of their own volition.

4. Becoming an ‘Invisible’ woman

Despite what the media would have us believe, ‘becoming invisible’ doesn’t only only happen to women; men just don’t care as much. 

eu era assim

Be honest, ‘Invisibility’ is really just a polite term for becoming physically older and less attractive (in the eyes of youth). Luckily, it happens to all of us and at the same time in our peer groups. The good news is that you are still attractive to middle-aged men, even though you might be looking at them and wishing that they are one of the twenty-something lifeguards from the local pool instead.

My Tip: You’re as old as you feel. It might take a bit more effort these days, but if you feel good about yourself, that confidence will take years off you.

5. Feeling as Irritable as Fuck (All the time)

So you get irritated by the slightest thing these days. If there’s a man in your life, use him, and make him your target. Part of that irritability is linked to all of the above but the hormones are having a last laugh at your expense too. Everything annoys you, you get bored easily and you have zero tolerance for people. MOST people.

My Tip: Whip your man’s ass every time you feel the need to offload that anger. Luckily, men are from Mars and it’ll go straight over their heads anyway and if you’re lucky they’ll retreat to the shed and give you some peace. 

6. Putting on weight every time you look at food or alcohol

English: Raspberry and cream sponge cake, Down...

You can blame those fucking hormones for this one too, plus the sedentary lifestyle of being glued to your desk chair for work and Facebook as well as that stress-busting nightly glass of wine and bar of chocolate. These days you just have to think about a cream cake and you put on five kilos. And the real bitch is that once you put it on, for some biological reason, it’s impossible to get it off again.

My Tip: Something’s got to give, unfortunately, so replace dessert with wine. The great thing is that it can count as one of your five portions of fruit and veg for the day.

7. Not Fitting Into Clothes Anymore

Even if you don’t weigh much more on the scales than you did in your thirties, your body evolves into this weird shape that simply does not fit into standard clothing sizes anymore. You might be a size 12, but even a Large is too tight. Hemlines suddenly feel way too short and so the only clothing you feel good in these days are yoga and happy pants.

My Tip: The more expensive the label, the more generous they are on sizing – they know their market.

8. Becoming Intolerant to Alcohol

This is the biggest bummer of middle age because to cope with all of the above you really need a solid drinking habit. Even more irritating is that you can probably afford to splash out on the decent stuff these days, but suddenly your body goes into crazyville with a WHOA! CAN’T TOUCH THIS attitude when it comes to alcohol. These days you get blinding headaches from two glasses of wine and a hangover can last a week.

My Tip: Life’s a bitch sometimes, but there’s a reason women are renowned for being stronger than men and that’s because of our tenacity and resilience in the face of impending peril… Suck it up, girlfriends…with a straw if you have to.

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Swimwear Shopping for Middle-Aged Women

Fanny Durrack (left) and Mina Wylie, Australia...
Fanny Durrack (left) and Mina Wylie, Australian swimmers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to buy new swimmers yesterday.

Shopping for a new swimming costume when you’re over 40 must be up there with admitting how much weight you haven’t lost at a Weightwatchers meeting; in terms of excruciating embarassment.

Because designers are still not catering for middle-aged women, and that makes it so hard for us. Not to mention our self-esteem.

There are two clothing items that no middle-aged woman likes to buy – swimming costumes and jeans. They’re just so hard to get right when your body decides to re-define itself with age.

Luckily, on this occasion, I wasn’t looking for impractical ‘fashion’ swimmers – the ones you flaunt your body in as you still try to pose provocatively on the beach hoping that you’ve still got it, (all the while knowing that you haven’t).

No, I was looking for a practical, full piece suit to aid my new Olympic training sessions at the 50m pool. (Yes, you heard right – I did say 50m).

My weekly dips have obviously pushed my loyal Target swimmers to the limit of their endurance. The chlorine rot is so bad now that holes have appeared in the nipple area and the fabric sags badly everywhere else, so my boobs free-fall to the sides mid breaststroke. It was obviously time to get the right equipment – I’m not averse to skinny-dipping in a public pool but the sight of my un-encased breasts is obviously causing a discernible awkwardness among the older set when I pass too closely to them in the lanes.

My mission should have been an easy one. As I mentioned, I wasn’t looking to make a style statement and I had a budget of around a $100 because a) I take my sport VERY seriously and b) I saved it on the food shop by cutting out all the old man’s favourite junk food.

I was quite excited at the prospect, for five minutes.

I think I must have tried on forty sets of swimmers in all, although the sales assistant did remain very calm and professional throughout our ordeal, (yet typically a tad invasive – what’s with them barging in when your tits are hanging down out?). By the thirtieth costume, I had had enough and was ready to capitulate fully and buy this horror of a floral 50’s retro cozzie, partly to get out of the shop, but mainly because it was the only one I could contort my body into that was a size 14.

Generally I am a size 14 12, but do you think I could pull any of the size 12s over my muscular thighs? And even when I did, they were all so damned short in the body that they did a better job than gravity at pulling my boobs further down towards my ankles.

The experience was beyond mortifying for the assistant.

She looked at me pityingly as I stubbornly tried to squeeze my body into each tiny cozzie like sausage meat into a skin. The more I persisted requesting size 14s, refusing to consider any diaphanous suggestion in a size 16, the more she shoved those big motherf*cker maternity costumes in my face.

It was the principle of the matter.

I must have worked off 10kg in that changing room. Ever tried changing swimming costumes with straps that test your IQ, padding in unobvious places, and in a space the size of a toilet cubicle?

But finally, I found the one.

The sales assistant cracked open a bottle while I sat on the floor and wept with joy, sweat pouring down my face.

The Men’s Over 60 Swimming Club is definitely going to be a little disappointed this week, now that my breast tissue has now been firmly strapped in. Thanks Speedo.

This post was inspired by Nikki Parkinson’s post Am I Fashion’s Invisible Woman at http://www.stylingyou.com.au.

New Year, New Body

A swimmer swimming
A swimmer swimming (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that the boxes have been unpacked, the mail has been redirected and we’ve discovered our new favourite local eateries, I’m running out of excuses for not doing any exercise. January is traditionally the month where I make another feeble attempt to retrieve my wedding day body. New year, new body.

So what’s this year’s abortive plan for ‘the body’, I hear you ask?

Well, last year you may remember, I dipped my toe into the yoga arena (Can Yoga Help Me Find My Core?) in the hope of finally locating my ‘core’, because that is apparently the precursor to true fitness (eternal life, lifestyle and happiness) and prevents us falling prey to the dreaded ‘embarassing leakage’ problem which haunts every middle-aged woman. All my friends had been yabbering on about the benefits of yoga for absolute donkeys years, like it’s as important as Chardonnay or something, so I obviously HAD to give it a try. The high point was the confirmation that my body is physiologically completely ill-suited to extreme sports; the low point being when I fanny-farted in the middle of my Cowface pose.

So this year I decided to go back to the basics, to a sport I trained in for a long time (until I began to take sport really seriously with the Jane Fonda Workout), and even enjoyed on occasion. (Hmmm, ‘enjoyed’ is probably a slight over-exaggeration, but then exercise has never been something I’d really make a choice to do if, say, I wasn’t a) unfit and b) overweight). So the sport I’ve decided put my faith into this year, to truly give me the best chance of becoming Louisa ‘The Body’ Simmonds, is swimming.

As luck would have it, we find ourselves in the vicinity of an enticing 50m pool, a little too close for comfort, to the new abode and as I need to shed at least 5kg and at the same time expose the ADHDer to some direct sunlight, due to tangible concern over his vitamin D levels, (as rather like RPatz in Twilight, his skin appears to cristalize when exposed to UV rays), swimming seems like a good idea.

But there are obvious concerns. Although I have matured beyond the sharks- entering-the-pool-via-the-plug-phobia, (being a sucker for any ‘rogue shark movie’), exposure of the middle-aged spread is obviously my biggest fear.

Such personal exposure transcends all sorts of mental body image issues. Exfoliation is the first major problem and the need to constrain wobbly ‘bits’ (hairy or otherwise) is the second, because the underwater swimmer can see EVERYTHING.

I’m certainly not averse to borrowing the old man’s razor at Christmas or on his birthday but waxing is something I only do to avoid looking like Magnum or my son, who currently believes that cultivating the bum-fluff upper lip look is cool. Having said that, I did notice a particularly long, rogue hair sprouting halfway down my inner left thigh the other day, (which provoked a horrified ‘eeeeewwwww’ from Nerd Queen, who I always enjoy shocking), so some work may need to be done in that area; purely for the sake of aqua-dynamics.

A friend of mine swims free-style for an hour, four times a week; (yes, you heard right). Our lengthy swimming strategy talks have informed me that, apparently, ‘free-style’ doesn’t mean any style’; it is what we Brits term ‘front crawl’. Not that that is really going to be an issue for me as I have never progressed beyond a hybrid doggy/breast stroke style. But unfortunately, our local pool doesn’t cater for doggy paddlers so I may be forced to begin my training in the recreation lane.

To demonstrate my commitment, I thought I might invest in one of these colourful Speedo cozzies that Olympic ‘swimmers’ wear, although it has come to my attention that they offer very little by way of support to the breast area and I am concerned that having the teabags swing freely around my waistband may constrict my aqua-dynamics too.

The other issue with swimming in a serious pool that I have always struggled to come to terms with, is swimming in a straight line. The last time I tried I ended up lacerating my ankles quite seriously in several places on the lane ropes, leading to several head-on collisions whilst being overtaken as I fumbled around trying to un-mesh my tethered feet – anyone who has done this will understand immediately how much it hurts. So I’m wondering if the ADHDer could somehow tow me along, rather like a car, by letting me hold onto his feet.

After further consideration, I’m beginning to think that I may need January to make my preparations fully and will commit physically to the ‘new body’ in February. In the meantime, I may take a few really long showers to acclimatise.