As if the meme wasn’t enough to wreck my peace of mind I then visited a friend who has one of those serious little 4 year olds who wears glasses and knows what sarcasm is. “How old are you?” she asked. I answered truthfully. “That’s old” she observed “Are you going to die?” “Well yes” I said “Eventually, hopefully not anytime soon”. “But you are old” she said gravely “So you will die. Probably soon. But don’t worry – the funeral doesn’t hurt”.
It’s not that I haven’t accepted my age. I know that it is true that I have probably lived more than half my life, and in all likelihood have more years behind me than I do in front of me. I don’t FEEL old, but my young friends’ view of me as someone Death was keeping a close eye on, and the wish list I couldn’t seem to make much head way with, made me wonder if in fact that’s what I was. It’s true, when I was a teenager 30 seemed like the doorway to senility. All my goals were 'by the time I am 30’ as though I needed to do everything before I crumbled to dust at 31.
The fact is though that life tends to get in the way of dreams, or the pursuit of them. Or it replaces them with more immediate and urgent matters. Time speeds up. The years from 20 to 30 represent a long time, but 30 to 40? Gone! In the blink of an eye. And if you have children? Then time is quicksilver.
To add to my anxiety, the sergeant major who conducts my favourite exercise class, mentioned that the youngest among us was 17 and the oldest 69. I realized that if she split her class by age I would be in the older group.
Could it be that I was an older woman with one foot in the grave and no dreams to chase? WTH was happening?!
Feeling entirely grumpy, I was dragging myself through my weekly shopping at the smiley supermarket when I came to the magazine shelf and caught sight of the latest edition of the much publicized local Cosmopolitan.
Here’s a little back story. In my late teens my younger sister Macaron scored the coup of the year by convincing our father to subscribe to Cosmopolitan magazine for us. He was toddling off to renew his Time magazine subscription and she casually just dropped the idea in his ear. My father I think simply glanced at a cover – saw a beautiful woman on it and decided that this was one of the items that belonged in that mysterious and vast category of 'things girls like’. He subscribed for one year.
OMG! What a gold mine! Our favourite thing was to do the quizzes (which we took incredibly seriously), we also tried the make-up tips, did the monthly work outs and the three of us all credit the discovery of our Kegels to Cosmo (let’s face it, the first time one generally hears about Kegels is just before one virtually destroys them during the birthing process).
There was no denying however that the most attractive portions were the many, many intimacy tips. Now the fact that Macaron and myself had no one to practice such tips on at that point in time was one thing (and in her case a very good thing from a legal perspective), but the theoretical knowledge we absorbed! My goodness!
Coq Au Vin initially raised her eye brow at us and declared that we were 'such schoolgirls’. However, soon enough, she was delving into it as well with a distinctly intent gleam in her eyes. I remember the February edition featured cut out vouchers that offered various intimate favours. One minute they were there, the next they were gone. It’s my opinion that Baguette had a very creative Valentines Day that year. Snigger.
My mother of course was not living in the happy bubble my father was where their daughters were concerned, and was quick to discover his error and rake him over the coals. He looked quite bewildered by her crossness and didn’t help himself at all by saying that he was sure the magazine was full of helpful articles. Needless to say, the subscription wasn’t renewed.
So, fast forward to the present day, and it occurred to me that it might be fun to sit around with my siblings and relive our giggly Cosmopolitan youth. So I picked up the magazine.
A quick glance at the topics on the cover made my heart sink, and a brief flip through confirmed my suspicions. I was too old for Cosmopolitan! The magazine offered almost zero content for me and was largely and clearly aimed at the 30 and under segment.
In fairness, I suppose I have entered some sort of dead zone from a publications point of view. From a marketing perspective I am too old to need career advice and it’s rather late in the day to offer me money saving tips. Sex tips? Why bother since menopause must be just around the corner and anyway if I haven’t figured out what works in that department yet then I may as well just die now, right? The wrong exercise tips may cause me to break a bone, and clearly beauty tips can only serve to depress me.
Following these multiple blows to my ageing soul (and quite spry ego, thank you very much) I went home, and called the Man. I informed him that I had officially entered phase two of the 'awkward age’ and was not enjoying it. He said he would come by presently with the remedy for my ills.
He arrived wearing a superman t shirt and brandishing a bag containing a Batman t shirt for me. Yes, we were off to the movies. When I laughed and asked how he knew I would want the Batman shirt, he said “Because you have Gotham written all over you”.
So off we went. We bought popcorn (salty for me, sweet for him) and Coca Cola (God it’s been years!). Some part of my brain offered up the idea that this was merely an attempt to capture lost youth, but the rest of my brain said 'Shut up! You are enjoying this! It’s fun, it’s you and it’s exactly what the doctor ordered’.
Just before (spoiler alert!) the scary scene in the mausoleum, the Man reached out and held my hand. Thus, when I jumped out of my skin, I had something to squeeze my stress into. During the interval I turned to him accusingly and said “You’ve seen this before!” He smiled and replied “Yes, but I always watch these movies twice. And anyway, watching you watch it is twice the fun”.
You know, when memes, magazines and worldly wise four year olds are doing their best to make me feel passed it, I may just have found something that makes me feel completely the opposite.
Wildest dreams list? Yeah, eat your heart out.