I’m getting old.
Yes, that is how I’m going to start my new blog. No funny one-liners, no clever metaphors. This blog is real, and I’m about to share with you one of my biggest fears. So don’t laugh, don’t patronise me and comment “you’re still a baby”. Just listen.
I’m getting old.
And it’s scaring me more and more every day.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when this transition started to take place, but I know it was soon after I started working. The first signs became visible when I was only about 24; my metabolism slowed down as if on cue and I started to put on weight. This doesn’t sound too shocking for someone who regularly gorged on two McDonalds burgers and midnight pizza parties (and hardly partook in any form of physical exercise) but somehow the food always seemed to disappear. Everyone told me it would “catch up on me in my mid twenties” but I never paid them any attention. I knew my body. These people didn’t.
But they were right. It did start to catch up on me. My body was changing, almost as if I was going through puberty all over again. I thought I had already been through all that life-changing, drastic, “Transformation Tuesday” bullshit in my teen years, and yet here I was, changing once again. Yes, I know… there are bigger and more serious problems in life. And yes, this seems very dramatic for someone who didn’t become clinically obese but rather just put on a couple of stones. But that didn’t make it any less frightening. It’s like all the food I was eating was being stored at the bottom of my once-flat stomach, and I found myself subconsciously holding my breath in anything that was vaguely tight. And one day… when I was clapping enthusiastically in assembly… my arms wobbled! They actually wobbled, I swear. I was horrified. Everything that wasn’t supposed to be growing was growing; it was like I was in a strangers body that I no longer recognised. So with tears in my eyes, I put my crop tops to the back of my cupboard.
But this was just the beginning. Step two joined in soon after: I started to get grey hairs. Only a few, here and there… but they decided to grow right at the front of my head. People started noticing, some reassuring me that I looked like a “silver fox” whilst others advised me that I must be really stressed. I WAS really stressed- stressed the hell out about my prematurely ageing body. My sister is eight years senior to me, and she didn’t have a single grey hair- so why me? I ran the next day into all the herbal stores in the area to try and find some sort of cure, remedy, hot-oil-mixed-with-kryptonite-treatment to stop this from happening. There was nothing.
And so, over the last two years, the process continued- slowly but surely. Lines that previously never existed on my face started to become permanent. Sun spots (what the hell are sun spots?!) started appearing like wounds and my dark circles became just that bit deeper. Look carefully at my Instagram- do you ever see me laughing? No, you don’t. Because when I laugh, I now get these things called laugh lines. And I don’t like it.
So now I’m “waist-training”, buying home hair dye boxes and every anti-ageing face cream in the world. But let’s face the facts: I cannot stop this from happening. I am no longer even in my early twenties. My age now gets rounded up to…
My God, I can’t believe I’m about to say this.
My age now gets rounded up to thirty.
Do you have ANY idea how OLD thirty used to sound to us? “She’s like thirty” is something my friends and I regularly said about women who in hindsight were probably in their fifties. That is now going to be my age.
And here are the two things that make this all the more tragic: Firstly, the fact that mentally… I still feel exactly the same as when I was seventeen. It would be fine if I was mentally and intellectually up to speed with this whole ageing and maturing thing. But I’m not. In my head, I am no different to when I was a teenager. I find the same things funny, have the same interests and the same ambitions I had then. Yep, judge me all you like, but that is the sad truth. I cared about makeup, shopping and boys then. I care about makeup, shopping and boys now. The only difference is that now I have to actually prioritise how I spend my money; now I have responsibilities, so I have to weigh up whether my money should go on makeup, my savings account, towards a mortgage or towards a pension plan. Now I have to weigh up whether I should go out or spend that time “catching up on my work” (an impossible task). Now before I decide I fancy a boy, I have to weigh up whether he could potentially be a husband; I can’t just date to have fun, because I have no time to waste. (NOTE: I still call my potential husbands “boys” rather than “men”.)
Moreover, the second and bigger tragedy is that I have achieved pretty much nothing that I thought I would have by the time I was 26. On my ticklist, I had all the things that every girl hopes to achieve in her twenties: I categorically knew that by the age of 21, I would have found my husband; by 23 we would have been married; by 26 I would have had my first child… but on top of all that, I thought I would have been in Hollywood by now. NOW LET’S DISECT THAT AND SEE HOW MUCH OF MY TICKLIST I ACHIEVED:
How am I 26 and still single when everyone around me is conceiving children and going on honeymoons to the Maldives? Why am I still spending Saturday nights watching Zee TV with my mother whilst everyone is buying their third property? (I love you mum. There is no one I would rather spend Saturday night with.)
I digress. But time is running out; I don’t want to be old on my wedding day. I want to look my best, I want to be in my prime in my wedding photos, I want that youthful glow and bright eyes that are so quickly fading… I don’t want to be 3 stones heavier with even deeper frown lines and grey thinning hair.
I fear that soon I’m going to be too old to wear leggings. I fear that I may never be able to dye my hair red again because I will look like I’m suffering from a midlife crisis. I fear that soon, I won’t be the one dancing at the Asian weddings any more. There will be younger, prettier, cooler girls dancing… and I will be the aunty clapping on the side. I fear that Kylie Jenner is now the coolest Kardashian because I grew up wanting to look like Kim. And Kylie is the same age as my ex students. I could have taught Kylie Jenner. I feel like a pervert every time I go onto Kylie’s Instagram and look at her makeup and outfits… because I am secretly ashamed that I really want to buy the outfit that my potential student could have been wearing. I cannot believe I’m turning into this woman.
Maybe it’s true what they say; maybe when I reach my thirties I will be confident once again, more self-assured, more happy. But this stage of my life is not fun. And I truly believe I cannot be the only person in the world who feels like this.
I fear growing old. And there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it. As I type this blog, I’m getting older with every key I tap.
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