Is 40 the new 25? Why I’m refusing to grow old appropriately

If you’d have said that at 41 and a half I’d be fitter, healthier and slimmer than my 25-year-old self, I’d have laughed in your face. (Then secretly hoped you knew something about my destiny than I did.) Optimistic me likes to hang on to any glimmer of hope, while gullible me will believe anything that you tell me if it’s going to make me feel good. Yet the bizarre thing is, it’s true, along with many of my fellow forty somethings who are refusing to attach themselves to the notion of what 40 should look like.

Not one to pigeon-hole an age or say what’s right or wrong, but in my twenties I had already decided that once I hit 40 I would cut my long brown hair short and stop trying to keep up with fashion,  I’d dress sensibly, probably at Boden, and take up a craft like hobby. Weekends would consist of routine of ferrying kids around to sporting events and gardening. Or so I thought.

Why exactly I decided that would happen is a little bonkers given that my mum was doing things at 40 for the first time, and still very much the life and soul of the weekend party goer. The 2o years between us meant nothing when you were raising the roof and mock pole dancing at family functions with a who gives a fidget attitude. She taught me well!

I think back to how I was behaving at 25 and it’s possible I peaked too early, maybe that’s why I took a restock of my life? I’d done sensible and it was time to claw back those prime years while I still had time.

So after F-day had passed I gave up red meat, joined the gym, started teeth straightening treatment and bought a whole new wardrobe of ageless clothes and make up. I even tried eye liner flicks (and failed) considered facial fillers (not brave enough) and switched to listening to radio 1 (sorry Jeremy.)  There are some things which I won’t be doing, like joining Tinder (might be subject to change) and getting ‘down in da club’ all night, I need beauty sleep and my feet ache if I dance too long in heels. I’m not a complete lose cannon, plus the teenage sons who lurke in my house somewhere might abandon me totally.

There’s always a catalyst to a radical lifestyle change and I suspect that the end of my marriage was mine. Suddenly I had weekends to fill and time to focus on Ali the person and not just Ali the wife and mother. Didn’t see that one coming at 25!

And 41 I have no hesitation in admitting my age,  I’ll be keeping my long brown locks, touching up my roots every 6 weeks. I’ll keep trying out the latest fashion, cursing when appropriate and blasting out the latest chart hits in my sensible Mercedes A-class.

One thing I’ve learnt which comes with age, aside from a little wisdom and a chunk of hindsight, is the confidence to not give a toss what others think of you.

And I have a sneaky feeling that I’m not alone in the 40 somethings growing old in appropiately.

I'm joining the growing number of 40 somethings who are refusing to grow up and grow old gracefully in the most sensible manner possible.

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Creating Some Childhood Christmas Nostalgia

It’s Friday so that can mean only one thing, as promised, it’s time for this week’s Christmas themed blog post. (You have been warned so don’t go all, “REALLY? IT’S ONLY NOVEMBER” on me.) There’s so much inspiration and gift guides out there but what I love, love, love more than anything during the holiday season is decorating the tree.

Growing up, it was always a big deal. Mum and Dad would get out the boxes from the loft, the tell-tale whaft of dust and something I just can’t put my finger on, would fill the front room as the familiar boxes triggering Christmas nostalgia, sat waiting patiently for my sister, brother and I to rummage through. Dad would arrange the tree in the bucket while mum would start sorting the tree decoration box from the rest then it was all systems go.

As we delved deeper and deeper, pulling out our favourites and hanging them up, in no particular order, there was nothing sweeter, more nostalgic than finding your childhood, handmade ones, albeit slightly more battered than the year before.

Christmas in the 1980's and having a special day to decorate the tree

Even the smell of a real tree takes me back to the feeling of opening the living room door on a cold December morning (pre central heating) and seeing our tree with all it’s abundance of presents sat underneath it.

I’ve not quite fathomed out why I love the Christmas build up so much, but I do.

Now I’m the mum, I’ve worked hard at maintaining the day we decorate the tree as a special one. Christmas music blares out as we get about transforming it from dull to fabulous. We feast on mince pies, party food and chocolates, then settle down and watch a film (usually Elf) with one eye on the twinkly fairy lights that now light up the room. But this year will be a little different.

For the first time since having children, we are having a real tree. Not having the means to be able to transport home, we’ve stuck with a simple, artificial one but thanks to Pines and Needles  we’ll be getting ours delivered straight to our door, and with it a life time of memories for our children.

This year we're having a real tree, I'm hoping the smell of freshly cut pine will take me back to my childhood, click here to read more

photo courtesy of Pinesandneedles.com

Now they too will experience the same wonderful Christmassy feelings when they catch the scent of a real tree in years to come. The same happy memories of opening the living room door when they come home from school to be met with a hint of pine.

But above all, I’m hoping the needles are a deterrent for our fiddly, inquisitive toddler whom I suspect will  great delight at removing every reachable decoration he can find.

sitting on santa knee, my 1980's christmas memories

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