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.