So today is my birthday and I’m hanging on to my forties for dear life. The lady assistant in Tesco’s must have known I needed a boost as she asked me for ID when purchasing my Merlot. I’ll take compliments where I can get em but she was clearly nuts- not even on my very best day could I pass for 18. “I’m way older than 18 I beamed” and she said” oh yes I see that now!” Bitch!
Anyway I decided to celebrate my birthday in style, this was going to be the very best of my forties, so where else than New Orleans baaabbbyy. My bestie and I had talked about this trip for 24 years and on the 25th anniversary of the Essence festival, we finally made it. If you have seen Girls Trip, you will know that the Essence Festival is high energy, and with the best will in the world, I wasn’t confident that my 40+ arse would handle the pace, but fair play to me, with regular naps and flats, I held my own. But a girl trip it was not, rather it marked the death of a 30 year friendship.
This trip which had been in the planning for 20 odd years was great in terms of location but as flat as a pancake in terms of female camaraderie. We had been on holiday before when our kids were young, but now they are grown and we had this new found freedom, this was our first trip with just us. We had spent our 30s immersed in Sex and the City and looked forward to the day when we would be ladies who brunched and enjoyed life. However, life has a way of interfering with one’s plans and the life we planned, never happened. Instead the friendship grew stale. It never occurred to me that friendships, like any other relationship, requires attention, and I guess we took ours for granted. At some point we stopped doing stuff, it became the norm to stop meeting up and planning things. So when the suggestion was made for a trip to New Orleans, what was not to love about that.
I think we both assumed that we would get on just fine. We were both crazy excited about the trip, there were conversations about how many shoes we needed, how many dresses were too many and the usual girly stuff. So who could have guessed that by day 2, we’d be having a screaming row about ….wait for it….. make-up. Two grown arse women giving it some about make up. Instead of getting into the festival vibe, my friend wanted to browse MAC make up, a brand sold right here on every high street in London. I was fucking furious.
So, far from the fun and frolics depicted on Girls Trip, the remainder of the holiday was marred by surliness and a burning wish (at least on my part and probably on hers too) that I had chosen a different travel companion. To our credit, and without any discussion, we both reached the conclusion that the best way forward, was to spend the days doing our own thing and to meet in the evenings to go to the concerts. My question is, why would a long standing friendship crumble at this time in our lives (over make up)?
Answer? Make up had little or nothing to do with it, the friendship never had any substance and was based on habit and duration. So what now? Take steps to salvage and repair or move on……?
P.S thoughts and prayers to the inhabitants of NOLA- may the hurricane be avoided and all be safe.
So, i’m not quite 50 years old yet, but I can defo see it over there on the horizon, and if I squint, it appears to have its arms open ready to welcome and embrace me. And as if in preparation for that moment, it’s making me behave like…… an old person, robbing me of my memory.
I noticed a few years ago that my memory was not what it once was and I thought nothing of it and passed and laughed it off as me just losing it. But now my forgetfulness is much much worse to the point that I have taken to googling “am I too young to have dementia?” According to the high scores on the memory tests, dementia is unlikely. So what is it? This state of not being able to remember what I was doing or thinking, just a second ago, is tiring. Everything is now taking me longer – the daily ritual of having a shower and grooming is now taking longer – i’m sniffing my armpits every 5 minutes because I can’t remember if I had put my deodorant on. I find myself running to my bedroom to go get something and when I get there, I have no fucking clue why i’m there.
I’ll have a thought in my mind, and the second that I go to act on it, it vanishes, like a fart in the wind. I’m told that this will get worse. I’ve not had any hot flushes yet, or have I? I’m throwing the quilt off during the nights and hoping that this is because the nights are getting warmer and not because of …….anything else.
And if that’s not bad enough, i’m starting to get emotional, weeping at the silliest of things. I texted a male friend of mine to ask if this happens to guys and he told me how this week he wept over a plate of food which took him back to his youth. Is this the same he asked????
I am guessing that this is age related, yet another thing fab forty women have to deal with, part of the peri pause I have learned it is called – the getting ready for the next phase of life. Oh joy!
I leave it there as I have an appointment at 2 and the reminder I have set to remind me not to forget, is beeping away. I must also remember to put a tampon or two in my bag, as I have no idea where the fuck my period is….
So Valentine’s day will soon be upon us. The ridiculous shiny red tat adorns the shelves of all supermarkets and now Poundland, the business which prides itself on being cheap, has decided to give Tiffany’s a run for their money by selling engagement rings.
How they must have laughed during the marketing meeting when the idea was pitched; never in their wildest dreams did they image that they would sell 20,000 with still a few more days to go . At most they would have hoped that the publicity would bring the curious into the store.
I hope the A&E departments are ready to accommodate the 20,000 injured souls, who have been kicked and battered shitless, having offended their intended betrothed.
For me, there is no grey area here, if you are going to propose to someone, it is more than a little insulting to present a cheap arse £1 ring which will no doubt turn green on making contact with the skin.
The concept of a ring is in this day and age is becoming a little outmoded (I still like the idea especially if it comes from said Tiffany), but isn’t it more genuine and more romantic, if you really cannot afford a decent ring, to simply not give a ring at all and say to your partner something along the lines : I really want to marry you someday, I can’t afford to buy the ring you deserve right now but i’m working on it. Ok so I did feel a little vomit in the back of my throat, but you get my drift.
It isn’t about price, or at least it shouldn’t be (WARNING: HYPROCRISY ALERT – To my shame, not that long ago, a man who I hadn’t been dating for very long, offered me a ring which he had bought for his mother before she died. I thought that was weird in itself, (not him buying his mother a ring, but offering it me when he had only known me a matter of weeks- Red, Red flag) but when he presented it to me, my first thought was how cheap and tacky it looked. That was wrong, but part of it had to do with they guy himself ( I mentioned him in a previous blog re the good, the bad and the weird of online dating) Self help books- a help or hindrance? How it got me dating online.
It shouldn’t be about price, a £50 ring can have the same sentimental value as one which costs £500 if that’s what you can afford, and if it is offered with sincerity, but there is no sincerity in my view, buying your intended a ring from Poundland, it says this is cheap and convenient and so are you.
This issue is not black and white as I thought, the opinions are polarised on social media, with many cheapskates, mainly men saying what a great idea it is to purchase a “holding” ring until they can afford to buy a proper one (perhaps in 5 years time or never as they may meet someone else in the meantime)
Perhaps i’m being old and cynical, but I bet i’m right!!!!
I have one child, an amazing son of 21, who naturally I love more than life itself. However at least once a week (sometimes more often) I ask myself, when is he leaving?
Granted, this is usually after an episode of a discarded plate in the sink just moments after I’ve washed up, hairs in sink/shower (stubble or worst still, pubes) or his general phobia to handling the hoover. The terrifying fact is that he will probably remain living with me possibly for the next 10 years, if research is to be believed.
I’ve listened to the argument that this relatively new trend, is because young people can’t get the jobs to pay the extortionate rents being demanded. I’m sure this is a factor, but I wonder sometimes, whether we, the parents, particularly mothers, as so many of us are raising our children alone, are to blame, for making their lives way too comfortable.
I like many others sucker mothers, do all the cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping, ironing etc and charge way, way, way below market rent for housekeeping. What’s not to love about that? Embarrassingly, I still pay for his mobile, a hangover from when he was a teen because I can’t be arsed to do anything about it.
If i’m honest, my mother did the same for me, but her incessant moaning was enough to make me flee when I was in my early 20s. I myself am a world class moaner, but so comfortable is my son’s life, he’s prepared to ignore me and ride it out.
As tough as it is out there, and I recognise that it is, if some of these young people were motivated to leave home or hungry for independence, they would and could do something about it for example, group together with friends and rent somewhere. I have suggested this to my own ‘manchild’ and his response is ” yeah, that’s an idea”, but alas, he’s still here with no sign of moving.
At this time, i’m not too fussed, as 21 is still very young, but I see the early signs of how easy 21 can become 25 and then 30 and God forbid, older. Those of you of a certain vintage, may recall the sitcom, Sorry, about a man, in his 50s or thereabouts, still living at home with his mum. That comedy now seems to have become a documentary for life as it is now.
So what do we do about it? I honestly don’t think there is much we can do, without putting in jeopardy our relationship with our children. If you have horrible ,unruly, ungrateful man/womanchildren, you can, I suppose just kick them out, change the locks when they go out. However if you have a good relationship, the last thing you want to do is to put them under pressure to leave or to make them feel unwanted/uncomfortable at home (we need them around when we get old so it would be reckless on our part to be too harsh).
Living with adult children can be a problem as we unwittingly allow them, to affect our own lives and lifestyle, when this should absolutely not happen. I am guilty of including my manchild in my future plans. I am looking at moving and even though single, I would not think about moving to a one bed property, there would need to be at least 2 bedrooms. However, I would like the spare room to be….spare. Realistically, if I move, manchild, will have to follow.
Even dating becomes a problem, as it’s one thing to invite a date back to yours (after a reasonable period, and being entirely sure he/she is not a psycho – see previous blog re online dating https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/fortyfabulousandfumbling.com/137)but an overnight stay is often out of the question unless the layout of property allows privacy. Mine does not. My bedroom is right next to son’s, and the sound proofing isn’t great. I remember the trauma of hearing my mum and dad at it, and refuse to put my son through that…. although, it may be enough to make him pack his bags and leave.
It’s difficult, we as parents have to take some responsibility for creating an inert generation, barely able to boil an egg, because they don’t have to.
So later today, right after I have finished his laundry and cooked his dinner, I will ask my son again if he will leave home before he’s 40.
In a few days, when Christmas has passed, advertisers will move away from ads enticing you to eat as much as you can, to ads encouraging you to lose weight because now you are of course, way too fat. So we will be treated to a feast of dietary food plans and exercise DVDs from Z list celebrities and if you don’t subscribe, you will be both fat and manless on Valentine’s Day, and thus not able to enjoy the next round of advertisements for overpriced flowers, and romantic meals for two.
I read somewhere, that memberships to dating websites, peak at the beginning of the year, in the same way as gym memberships, so clearly a trim waistline and a new man, features high on the list of goals for the New Year.
For the past couple of years, getting back into the dating scene has been on my New Year’s to do list, but come February 14th, I am relieved that I don’t have to buy anyone a gift and by the end of February, I really can’t be arsed to trawl through a catalogue of mostly undesirable men. However, one of my goals was to read more, and although it took me until April to get cracking, I got there and one of the books I bought was You are bad ass . Yes I am! This book was clearly written just for me. As I started reading the blurb, I discovered quickly it was not for me at all, as it was one of those horrid self help/manifestation books, you know, the ones where if you focus long and hard enough on a picture of your dream house, it will be yours. Nonsense! But having walked away from the “self awareness” section, (i didn’t realise that’s where i was), I was feeling drawn to it.
Around that time, I had spoken to two women on separate occasions, who swore by this self fulfilment/manifestation way of life. They both had mantras which they would say to themselves everyday, about how wonderful they are etc, and both claimed that their lives had been improved. Both women appeared to be sane (ok one was a little strange, a life coach, but she wasn’t entirely barmy).
I talk to myself a lot, but chanting mantras is not me. However being in my forties and fabulous, I am open minded and open to trying new things and the book being on special offer helped (a lot), so I bought it. Surprisingly, it was not a bad read. With many of these books, you should not read them with the expectation that everything will resonate with you. You take on board the bits that make sense and reject the rest. The single most important thing I got from the book, is that if you want something (that thing being something reasonable and attainable with effort), then go for it.
This is common sense, we all know this, we don’t need a book to tell us, but the difference it made to me, was that it gave me the kick up the bum to do those things on my wish list instead of just hoping for things to happen. So I set about looking for a new job. This is harder than it sounds. You gain several privileges when you have worked for a company for several years, e.g. the official start time may be 9.00am but I happily flounce in around 10.00 with a look daring anyone to comment, and if I feel like I’ve had a taxing day, i’ll leave early without so much as a by your leave.
However the book was a wake up call about how much I was worth and I set about approaching leading firms in my field, and what do you know? Job done, I start my new job in the new year. Tick.
I’ve always wanted to write, and here I am blogging. Tick.
Now for the failures. I know I should save more money- big fat fail. I am a live for the moment woman and I want what I want now. Better luck this year.
My other failure is my attempt at online dating. Massive flop. I enjoy my life as a singleton and because of that, I genuinely don’t want a full on relationship, although I am open to friendship/companionship. What’s the difference? Essentially, with the former, you have to do things like compromise, with the later you can tell your companion to get lost at any time and certainly at the end of a pleasant evening, he can piss off back to his house or I to mine. Puuuurfect!
Many years ago when I was far too young to be set in my ways, I was listening to an interview with a committed couple who had been together for years as LATs, that is “Living Apart Together”. They had set relationship boundaries, they were monogamous, they lived apart but were very much together. It sounded perfect to me then, and sounds perfect to me now.
Briefly the first guy seemed to have forgotten to take his meds, and the second, was a needy ridiculous man, who two months after dumping him, I can’t get shot of the bugger. He is blocked on my phone and WhatsApp, and I have had to turn my landline to silent. The last i heard from him was around 2 weeks ago. There I was, watching Outnumbered for the 100th time, feeling chilled, when the landline screamed into action. It so rarely rings, that when it does, it makes me jump. Instinctively, I knew it was him, so I picked up the phone but said nothing. Then he said quite cheerfully, ” are you there?”. His voice alone was a windup, which set me off. “What the fuck do you want, have you no shame, you fucking lunatic” and so it went on and on and on.
I asked him on numerous occasions what the fuck he wanted, but did not give him the chance to respond. I hurled every bit of abuse I could muster, except for one, which I am saving should he dare to call again. In the short time we knew each other, he told me that he did not have a lot of confidence around women, because on 2 occasions, women had laughed out loud, when he had dropped his pants to reveal what he explained was his tiny willy. Why he told me that, at this early stage of knowing him, is unclear, possibly to test my reaction. I resolved never to see his tiny appendage , but was nevertheless sympathetic and nice about it. However should he call me again, I won’t be. Unpleasant, I know, but the man needs to go.
I’m sure not all men online are weird, I did meet a nice guy once and although it didn’t work out, we remain good friends. But for the time being, I am putting online dating on the back burner for now. Should I meet my LAT conventionally without effort on my part, then so be it, but I will certainly not go looking for it.
I was however heartened to see in the news last week, an acknowledgment that mature people still date, with an ad for a new dating site for the over 50s, but disheartened to read that it had been banned, as the 58 year old male depicted, was too hot to handle. Apparently the offence was that he was being objectified. I wonder if the same would have happened if it was a female? Bizarre. https://twitter.com/standardnews/status/1076883241397874690 I do hope that when i’m 58, I will be objectified by someone- anyone.
Anyway, I have just ordered a book, My Favourite Half Night Stand, a comical look at online dating, I will let you know if this has put me off even more.
Happy New Year to you when it comes. May 2019 see you fabulous as ever.
I am fortunate enough to be writing this blog from Cape Verde, whilst sitting/semi-lying on a sun lounger, from a terrace almost spitting distance from Praia da Cruz aka the glorious sea.
I still find it slightly undignified to drink before noon, so although there is no sangria or merlot at hand at this moment (11.45), before the end of this blog, there certainly will be.
For the past 3 years, I have chosen to spend my Christmases abroad. Christmas is a time when families get together, but in my case, it is time when I put as much distance between us as my budget permits.
It’s not just the monotony of over eating, the ridiculousness of eating things which few of us enjoy, ie dry turkey and brussels, rubbish TV (it’s incredible that they are still showing Morecombe & Wise) but I am sick to death of the commercialism that is now part and parcel of Christmas. No sooner have the supermarkets cleared its shelves of unsold Halloween pumpkins, way is made for Christmas things. This is not so that you can spread the cost of Christmas, but its so that by the time Christmas arrives, you will have already eaten your way through 10 packets of mince pies. The sell by date will have expired well before Christmas.
We are bombarded with adverts to buy this and that, but in these lean times of austerity, what about the many families who can barely afford to buy food? It’s not enough that people will feel the pressure of having to buy essentials, but they must also withstand the constant reminders that they are poor.
Even though Christmas comes around the same time every year, we (well, not me), still allow ourselves to be hoodwinked by the same old tricks, I talk of black Friday , cyber Tuesday and the like, where supposedly prices are slashed and if you don’t buy now, the world will end.
Even as I type, I am receiving notifications from various entities alerting me to 50% off, just 3 days before Christmas, when they know that by now, presents have already been bought. So why the huge discount at this stage? It’s because they know that folk are stupid enough, or lack the discipline, not to over stretch themselves. Even though bargains are available, all the time, all year round. The 50% off , by the way, is the old tat, that they weren’t able to sell last year or the year before.
So I am having none of it. I don’t feel under pressure to buy presents for anyone; if i’m not in the country at Christmas, no one has any business expecting a gift from me. Equally, I expect nothing. I try to be generous throughout the year so I will give a random gift on 26th July if I feel like it, rather than the spurious giving on 25th December.
Being here in gorgeous Cape Verde, has confirmed to me that my decision to distance myself from Christmas, is absolutely the right thing. The people here, in the main, have very little, and the focus for them, is the togetherness that the season brings and I have no doubt that waste and gluttony, will be non existent. With so little, they make the most of everything around them. Have a look at the Christmas tree made out of water bottles above. They can teach us a thing or too about recycling.
Anyway, it is now past noon and a refreshing G&T beckons. There’s not a great deal to do Half the services which I was promised when I booked this apartment, have turned out to be….well a bare faced lie. I can’t hire a bike on site, nor can snorkelling be arranged and I had to walk a mile into town to arrange my own tour of the island (stunning by the way). The lovely smiley lady who checked me in, told me that the TV does not work (no problem, i’m not on this sun drenched island to watch TV), then with the same smile, she told me there was no internet in the apartment.
I wondered for a nano second, what the criminal penalty would be if I were to bitch slap this lady. I know nothing of the Cape Verdean criminal justice system, but doubted that their prison would provide me with the comforts I would be afforded in Holloway.
“That will not do” I said to her. It’s one thing to deny me a TV, but quite another in the 21st Century, to deny me access to the internet.
So it came to pass, that for the cost of 20 euros I have a less than perfect router, which allows me stay in touch with the very friends and family who I went out of my way to escape.
Have a great Christmas. Eat, drink (in moderation) and be merry & fabulous.
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.