How old is too old for cosmetic surgery?

I came across a really sad story yesterday, a letter written by a husband, following the death of his 49 year old wife, who went to Hungary for  butt lift surgery(https://twitter.com/vicderbyshire/status/1069940048995516416) . It got me wondering,  whether there is an age when you are too old for surgery.

There is an age when you are too young for surgery.  In most cases you have to be an adult, ie 18 years old, if the surgery is purely aesthetic, but as far as I’m aware, if you have the money, and past the fitness test for surgery (both physically and psychologically), you can have your boobs, butt or whatever else done, right up until your in your 80s. 

By then, one would hope to be at peace with your body, or hope that you would have more pressing things to think about such as…. staying alive.  But in relation to the poor 49 year old referred to above, my initial thought was why?  Why at this stage of her life did she feel the need to have a bigger/more pronounced  butt? 

By all accounts she was a happy wife and mother.  Is it that she stopped feeling sexy and attractive?  I doubt if such feelings suddenly occur in your late 40s.  Those type of insecurities  tend to occur much younger, in your 30s, or if you’re really unlucky, in your 20s.   Stories of women having breast surgery after their last child has sucked them dry and shapeless, are common, and I get that,  but I just don’t feel the same way about butt surgery, at almost 50 years of age.

I’m not saying at all that at  age 49, you’re supposed to let yourself go (the whole point of my blog is to celebrate how fabulous it is to be in your 40s). I do my nails, thread my lashes, have lash extensions (tastefully done of course, not those monstrosities that are so thick, so long so ridiculous) and i’m waxed within inches of my life. However in my view, butt lifts are for the  young , frisky and feckless.  After say the age of 35, you should strongly be asking yourself whether a pair  of padded knickers could do the job just as well.  Cheaper and no one has ever died as a result of wearing them.

Weirdly though I don’t feel the same way about other forms of cosmetic surgery.  I’m sure that had the story been about a nose or boob job, I wouldn’t bother to write about it.  I would be just as chilled if the story was about a tummy tuck.  This makes no sense, I know.

The sad truth of the matter is, that this poor woman must have felt pressure from society to look a certain way.  Images of flawless celebrities/ models, social media telling us how we must look. I am firmly of the view that if an image has been airbrushed, there should be an obvious notification printed alongside letting you know.  Its ridiculous to suggest  that these women, who have had kids, often more than one, don’t have a single stretch marks.  I had loads even before I had my child.

We hear all the time of the pressures that teenagers are under to look a certain why, but we very rarely hear that women like us, women like the one in the story, are under the same pressure.  There is an expectation that when you get to a certain age, you should be over it.  That’s so not true as we are fumbling just like any other age group.  I felt particularly sad however, that the pressure in this lady’s case was so great, that she considered butt surgery to be the answer.

Each to their own, every woman is entitled to do what they want to make themselves feel good, but I just feel that certain surgeries are for the young, including butt surgery and vaginoplasty/vaginal rejuvenation.  In our 40s, do we really need to worry about having a tight fanny? I think not.    

I am torn on this issue.  I’ve blogged before about the outdated perception of women in their 40s and that there is little to separate us from women in their 30s, and i feel conflicted that  when I read the story, I was drawn to the issue of age more than anything else.

It would be great to know what you think.

Til then, stay fabulous, you are great exactly as you are. 

Do we outgrow our friends?

Over the last couple of years it has concerned me hugely, why or how it came to be that my relationship with my best friend of several decades had come to change.  Is this normal? Is this a thing?

A best friends is to be treasured.  She is the one who you trust above all others- she gets you and you get her right?

And so it was with me and my bestie over many years until it wasn’t.  At some point in time we stop getting each other and it troubled me.

We met at work when I was 19 and she 21. Looking back, we just seemed to click even though we were quite different.  She was quite the social butterfly, enjoying partying, staying out late even on a weekday she was enjoying her youth.  While I on the other hand had not long met the man who was to become my husband.  Looking back, we didn’t have that much in common but we still really clicked;  our differences gave us something to talk about.  She continued to party her way through life, whilst I was mixing working with study, engagement, marriage and later motherhood.  Still our friendship remained strong.

Fast forward several years, I get divorce and my friend has a child of her own.  Our relationship flourishes.  We holidayed with the kids a few times, bitched about our exes and other things,  but sometime thereafter, things changed and its really hard to pin it down.

It’s so easy to fall into a rut of work/home, home/work and it can become comfy.  On a Friday evening when the youngsters in the office are planning their nights out, you find yourself relieved that that is no longer your life and you look forward to a nice dinner, wine and the sofa….and you talk yourself into this being the life you have chosen.

That was me for a while until I realised that life is way too short to spend it on the sofa, I wanted to do stuff, travel, fine dine, visit places of interest and be spontaneous.  We once nipped over to Nice for lunch and we promised ourselves that we would do stuff like this again.  It’s not happened.  Truth was, I was bored of doing nothing.  When your colleagues say to you on a Monday, how was your weekend, I really wanted to have something interesting to say.

Problem was, I would have to do all of these interesting things alone as my bestie wasn’t ready to rise from the couch. I started to regret that I had kept my circle of friends so small and had allowed myself to become reliant on just one friend.

I think I realised how much things had changed when I took my first holiday alone.  It was 2 years ago and I had been dating someone for around 2 years.  He was burdened  down with baggage so couldn’t come with me and as I sit here, I can’t even recall why there had been no discussion with my friend as to why she couldn’t come.   I love to travel and there was no way I could allow being alone, stop me from doing stuff.  So right there, in my mid 40s, I took my first trip abroad alone.   Minitrix no mates chose Puerto Rico, on her birthday  and business class. 

It was great, I had the time of my life and I realised that I am amazing company! The experience grew me in confidence and independence and recognition that friendships, just like any other relationship, are bound to change over the years, and change is not necessarily a bad thing.  If it wasn’t for her inertia, I would never have had the courage to travel alone, or to make new friends, which I have done by joining  meetup groups which I mentioned in a previous blog http://meetup .

You know when you are in a relationship with a guy, and you start to go off him; you start to see his faults and all the things in the past which were once adorable or cute, become irritating and intolerable.  You know when once you used to get excited about receiving his WhatsApp message to then thinking ” for fuck sake, what now”?  Those  are some of the feelings I have experienced  with my friend.  We just drifted- she is no longer the person I go to for advice, or share details of my life.  Job interviews, dates etc, are things which I bring up during the course of a conversation, as opposed to when it actually happens.  

So seriously have I taken this, that I’ve even done a (tiny) bit of research and stumbled upon an article about outgrowing friendships, which asked:

Do you have friends who always stay the same? And do you also have friends who always grow and develop themselves? Both can be good friends, but the former will seem like a stranger to you one day.  You need to surround yourself with people who are constantly pushing themselves for better.

OMG!!!! This article was speaking to me directly on every level.

Just because  your friendship may change it really doesn’t have to be a big deal, I see that now. You can still be friends -just different than before.

Be forty, fabulous and fumbling xxx

Do you have to love your family?

Family- a great concept.  A unit often, but not always connected by blood, and which in theory, provides a warm glow of trust, security and love,  that can’t be provided in quite the same way by outsiders.  Really?????

With Christmas on the horizon, there will be many who are dreading having to spend time with their family; being forced to eat, drink and be merry with people you can’t stand, because we are told that Christmas is a time for family.  Brave is the person who says to their parents “actually, I think i’ll spend Christmas with my friends this year”.  Braver still the person who opts to spend Christmas with someone else’s family, I have in mind the couple who has to navigate between 2 sets of families.

I always hear stories about massive arguments around the Christmas table, when the alcohol which has been consumed since 9.00 am and starts to work as a truth drug, and family members are told in  exacting detail,  what you think about them and just where they can shove that drumstick.  As ugly as this scene is, year after year, they subject themselves to the same thing out of family loyalty. 

So what comes first, your own feelings and sanity, or the feelings of the family?

After many years of not having to consider this question, I will have to do so in the coming weeks, when my mother, who I love, but don’t like very much, will be coming to the UK to spend Christmas with her family, or more accurately, some members of her family, i.e. those she has not yet managed to piss off.

My family has been wrecked for as long as I can remember.  I have 2 older brothers, who I never bonded with one, because of the age gap, and two, because they were hardly ever home.  They ran away from home frequently and left home for good when they were around 18/19 (that was in the days when one, council housing was readily available, and two, they were allocated to single men).  

I also have an older sister and the bond between us was quite strong until I got married, when jealously would not allow her  to be happy that her younger sister was getting married before her (she at this point had been engaged for around 10 years).  As a result of her jealously, her lack of contentment with her own life and total lack of will to make a change, our relationship deteriorated and  we didn’t speak for five years. 

When our parents moved back to their country of birth, they (in reality my mother, I don’t think my dad had noticed that one, he hadn’t seen his sons in years, and two, that his daughters weren’t speaking) they begged us to speak, which we did , but the relationship was never the same.

We, my sister and I, spent a couple of Christmases together,  her family and mine which i mostly did for my son’s sake as by then, i was divorced and i thought he would have  a better Christmas spent with cousins rather than just him and I.  On occasions we’d spend Christmas abroad with my parents.

It was one such Christmas, when  my mother, embarrassed that at my age I was renting, out of the blue offered me a deposit to get my own place. I was gobsmacked, it was unexpected and such a great gesture.  I asked her over and over if she was sure and  warned her that my sister (lets call her Sybil- such an ugly name) would not like it at all. “She can’t tell me what to do with my money,” was her reply.

To cut a long story short, I found a property, paid a non refundable  holding fee and my mother had allowed Sybil to talk her out of it.   I was disappointed that she  had allowed her mind to be changed without having a conversation with me, it felt very much like she had picked a side.  Anyway, her money, her choice but a certain amount of trust had been lost and I distanced myself from both of them.  This was  easy enough to do, as I was not close to my sister anyway, and mum lived abroad.

It seems to me, that mum and Sybil were pissed off at the ease with which I was able to get on with my life without them, and the pair of them became quite the bitches, scheming about how they could exclude me some more.  This was no surprise so far as Sybil was concerned, but I was shocked by my mother’s attitude because she had always been nice. I had always regarded her as a great mother and grandmother and so i was disappointed to say the least, when she allowed my son’s birthdays and Christmases, to pass without a card even though we had sent her cards for every occasion.  Sybil had even tried to put  pressure on her daughter, my niece, to stop her talking to me, She actually told her ” you should be on my side”, like a damn five year old.  My mother encouraged this, she wrote me a letter to say “if you don’t love the tree, you can’t  love the fruit.” Really?????

Sadly, on New Year’s Day, 2018, my dad passed away.  He had had Alzeihmer’s for several years but his passing was still unexpected.   I had learned via my niece, well in advance of his death, that my mother had already planned that I would not be told of his death, so I got the news via my niece.

Although I hadn’t spoken to my mother for some time,  I needed to call her to pass on my condolences and to let her know she only had to ask if she needed anything.  I was dreading any hostility, because I knew I wouldn’t handle it very well.  I have always believed that you should be respectful to your parents, but if she spoke to me out of turn , I knew I would give it right back as unfortunately, much of the respect between us had been lost.

When I called, she was surprisingly lovely- obviously sad having lost her husband of circa 50 years.  However that did not stop her from not sharing the funeral arrangements with me.

So now, here  we are in December, and rumour  has it that she will be coming to England next week, to spend Christmas and the New Year   She will of course be staying with my sister.  Mercifully, I will be spending Christmas abroad, but will be back before she goes home.  I have to admit, I don’t know how to play it, it’s easy to ignore my mother when she is abroad, but not so easy when she is only staying 3 miles or so down the road.

There is no way I can visit her whilst she is staying with Sybil, and I don’t want to invite her to my place either , as that would mean inviting a woman, who I do not trust, into my life. On the other hand I do feel that I shouldn’t ignore her whilst she is here.

Bizarrely, my sister has sent me and my son, an invitation to have Christmas dinner at her home, which she sent via my niece.  She did not know  that I would  be going away, but if I wasn’t, how on earth would that have worked?  Would I just rock up to her home after 5 years of not speaking, and expect to feel comfortable.  She will have to save the arsenic for another day.        

The grown up part of me says grin and bear my mother’s company, she is only here for a while.  But I keep asking myself : Should you really spend time with people you don’t like just because they are family?  Surely the stress isn’t worth it. 

I guess I will just have to think this one through  whilst lying on the beach over Christmas.

Forty, fabulous and definitely still fumbling.

I am very conscious of the message I am giving to my son, now 21, about family – it’s been essentially just him and I since he was 3.  I would hate for us to fall out and for him to  feel that he did not want to include me in Christmases with his own family in the future.  My message to him is that blood is not always thicker than water and the important thing is  to be around the people you love, whoever they may be.

Splitting the bill- are there any rules?

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I went out for a meal with a group of women recently and we did not know each other well and in some cases not at all.  Therefore the host had the good sense to send a message to all, advising that we will each pay our own bill.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the restaurant did not split the bill and left it to us to make the split.  We were all grown women and it seemed to me and the others, that it was sensible to split the bill equally- we had all pretty much had a starter , main and alcohol, or similar combination, and there was no substantial saving to be gained by going through the rigmarole of getting  our individual calculators out to tot up our share. It has to be said, that it was not a particularly fancy restaurant and the bill was reasonable, from memory it was around £30 each .  However two in the group objected and thus set in motion the tedious task of breaking down the bill to the last penny and divvying up the service charge.

Should you really  go out in a group if this is your attitude?  The answer is no.

It was embarrassing and you could see that the waiter was becoming exasperated when each time he came to the table for payment, folk were still busy punching digits into their phone and muttering ” but I only had one glass of wine.”  We are not students so pay the damn bill already!  If you cannot afford to go out, stay indoors but please do not humiliate yourself and others by penny pinching to save yourself a pound.

Then today at a birthday brunch for a friend, in a fancy restaurant, the same thing happened.  One diner did not indulge in the bottomless prosecco so she wasn’t going to pay for it.  We had already divvied up the bill and everyone else was ready to pay their £70 + share.  I was screwing (but silently of course), as the meal was far from worth the £600 bill between us, but it was a nice afternoon out to celebrate a birthday, so of course I would suck it up.

We left it to the miserly diner to tot up her own bill, which she did minus service charge.  On what planet is that acceptable?  Not only was she moaning about the bill but she wanted us to take up her share of the service charge as well!

I have some sympathy for the single teetotaller among a group of boozers and its right that they shouldn’t have to subsidise the drinkers, but other than this example, suck it up, pay an equal share and if you must moan, do it in your own time or in a blog.

When you are dining out at a 5 * establishment, (or anywhere for that matter) don’t  penny pinch- stay home and don’t embarrass yourself or the rest of us.

Bon appetit x

 

WTF?!!!!Someone call the fashion police!

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In my first blog – so you’re in your 40s what’s the big deal? https://fortyfabulousandfumbling.com/2018/10/15/the-journey-begins/

I bigged up J-Lo as being one of those fabulous women in her 40s who set a good example of looking great at this amazing time of our lives.  So you can imagine my horror, when I came across this:

Why????????????? I can only assume that poor J-Lo is unwell – her mind has become infected by something, because if she is sane,  she cannot honestly believe that this is a good look.  This, people, is not a good look for anyone staring 50 in the eye, it’s not a good look for ANYONE.

In my earlier blog, I made the point that society and the media, hadn’t caught of with the new breed of women in their 40s, that  we do not identify with Laura Ashely flowy dresses, or M&S ill fitting jeans, but purleeeeezzzzzzz- this is a step too far.  If the attempt was to show off that amazingly buff body of hers, there are other more classy ways to do this.  This right here is cheap, tacky and ridiculous, even more so because she is almost 50 years of age.  The fact that she has colour matched her pants and her panties, makes not the slightest difference, it makes it worse in fact, because it shows that she thought about it, yet decided to go ahead.

Musically (I need a gif right now or an emoji because i’m sniggering at the notion that she has any musical talent) i’m not a big fan so I don’t know her background, but I believe she has children, possibly even teenage ones.  Surely they must be embarrassed.  Does she not have folk around her who can say, ” hey Jen, that’s not working”?

My sincere hope is that Jen is ok, and that the loss of her damn mind is temporary.

This blog recognises that at our fab age it’s ok to fumble, but this is a fumble too far.

Have a great day, and be fabulous xxxxx

Ageism in your 40s- surely not!

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Two years ago when my fabulous friend was in her late 40s, she received a call from her supervisor, on her way to work, asking her to head straight to her office on arrival.  My friend called me because she feared bad news and anticipated that she may be let go.  She was right.  She was made redundant, and the reason they gave did not make sense to her – her role was pretty unique to the team, and she was always very busy.  However a junior, almost half her age had started recently.  This younger employee was very good at sucking up and soon became very likeable to those to whom it mattered.  My friend suspected she had been forced out, to make way for the younger woman.  She was right.

This is not an unfamiliar story, and at the time, I wondered if it had more to do with the company’s finances i.e. younger = cheaper (which is still ageist by the way) than it had to do with direct ageism.  Even though this happened only 2 years ago, at the time, it didn’t occur to me that ageism, in your 40s was happening.   Why would it?  We are still young, 25 years or so away from retirement age with still a lot to offer.

It’s easy to see how this may happen at the recruitment stage, but more difficult to fathom when you have been in a role for many years have been doing well.

In your 40s, you are likely to have gained considerable experience not just from the job you are doing but experiences gained outside the workplace. You bring maturity, reliability, as often, (though not always), any childcare issues are under control or no longer exist, and a work ethic beyond that possessed by any 20 year old . What’s not to love about these credentials?

Few, if any employees in their 40s, feel they are over the hill, and if they do feel this way, there is a question as to whether they are in the right job.  Certainly for me, I still feel energised, ambitious and have a lot to give.  At 40 you are not old, far from it, and it’s an age when you can fit in easily with those both older and younger than you, probably more so than any other age bracket.

I was happy to reassure my friend that with all the experience she had gained over the years, it  would only be a matter of weeks before she found something.  I was wrong.  In the 9 or so years that she had been working, the world as she knew it had changed, all job opportunities were targeted towards young graduates, even those jobs which previously did not require a degree.

My friend had started off her working life as a legal secretary and had gained her experience training under a youth training scheme (remember those?) and then on the job.  Over the years, she worked her way up become PA/paralegal to CEOs of multi national companies.  Now it seems that organising and managing diaries require not only a degree, but expect that you should now be PA/secretary to at least 4 people and all for £25k.

This may be achievable if you are in your 20s living at home, or flat sharing, but not so easily achieved if you are in your 40s with a family, especially if you are a single parent.  That was the salary my friend was earning when she was just starting out and working for no more than 2 people.

The world had become one where employers want a great deal for very little and where mature experienced women were being forced out.   Perhaps that had always been the case and I was lucky enough not to have noticed.

This is quite scary. If it’s so difficult to find a role when you’re in your 40s, what on earth is going to happen if we have need to look for a job in our 50s?

My friend’s experience has been a wake up call for me  not to be complacent, and to be alert to changes in the workplace e.g. if there is a whiff of potential job losses, give yourself time to look around for another job and be ahead of the competition.

This is a situation I have found myself in recently. Next year, my firm is likely to lose one of its biggest clients, and although my firm is working hard to restructure things to deal with this eventuality, to my mind, redundancies at some point, are an inevitability.  With good old fashion ageism at play,  it is not beyond the realms of possibility that I, as one of the oldest and more expensive in the team, will be the one to be given her P45.

Other firms that share the same client will be in the same boat, so my tactic has been to start my job search ahead of time and ahead of the competition.  The experience has been daunting – its awful having to sell yourself to an employer and I am now 7 years older than I was when I last had to do this.

It’s been a while now since an employer has been prohibited from asking a candidate to put their date of birth on their CV.  However it is possible to glean someone’s age from other information such as the dates you attended school/college/university so I left all of these dates out and focused on my experience.

I had one recruitment agent  (he seemed to me to be about 12 years old – therein lies another problem as to who we rely on to help us get a job ) asking me to put these dates in my CV.  I refused and he didn’t put me forward for the roles.  However, my only what you need to know CV, has got me a number of interviews, and this week a job offer (yaaaay), and it’s taken 5 months.  Sometimes it just takes getting a foot in the door to give you the opportunity to wow an employer with your fabulous self.

You are 40s and fabulous, a rejection is their loss – never give up hope x