OK, so now you know I'm well over fifty, but please don't hold that against me. And guess what, being fifty plus isn't any big deal really. It just looks bad on paper. Of course, there are mornings when I wake up and think "Shit, I'm really old" but by the time I'm up and showered, have blow-dried my hair, put on some slap and a foxy outfit from one of my favourite non-geriatric stores (Hobbs, Zara or M and S on a good day) and spritzed myself with perfume, I am definitely hot to trot. Maybe with the odd wrinkle, but generally still "up for it" - whatever "it" turns out to be.
And that's the weird thing about getting older. Once you've learned to handle the inevitable hormonal helter-skelter (if you're a woman) or ignored it (if you're a man), you're sorted really and ready for the next slice of life, and often with renewed vigour. I'm not saying that I'm looking forward to it but, let's face it, getting older is certainly better than the only other alternative.
But one of the reasons I sometimes keep my advanced age to myself (apart from vanity) is that if people know how old you are, they tend to treat you differently. They have preconceptions of how each age group should behave and how it should be treated. It can be a little bit patronising. It's not exactly ageism, more an assumption that as you get to certain milestones, you will naturally do certain things and begin to act in a certain way. But why is that? Why does the chronological age of your body and mind mean that you will undergo a radical personality change? And is that inevitable? Can't we just be the same people we always were, but older? And hopefully a bit wiser, of course.
Recently I was a part of a conversation with a woman in her late 50's who was thinking of getting a smaller house because her kids have now left home and it seemed ridiculous maintaining a huge property just for her and her husband. She wanted to save cash to spend on exotic holidays, a new car, more fun. I could relate to that, but most people just assumed that she was "downsizing" now that they are "older" and would naturally opt for a bungalow, to avoid the stairs. She found this view quite amusing as both she and her husband regularly walk two miles a day, play tennis and badminton, go to the gym and have a landscaping business digging other people's gardens. Oh, and she teaches tap-dancing. But obviously, assumptions had been made, given her age.
As always, I have to rebel. So far I have resisted wearing my lipstick around the outside of my mouth, having a curly perm or buying a purple cape (unless they feature in Vogue), or any of the other stereotypes attributed to "women of a certain age". I haven't become invisible and I often (too often, some say) get my voice heard. I am me and always will be, personality-wise just the same as I always was but with a bit more time and money to spend on myself (until we reach pensionable age when I'll have to go on the game to afford makeup and gin).
And in the meantime?
No, I don't want an effing bungalow. But thanks very much for asking.