Ageing and vanity.
My lovely Mum always looked beautiful to me whether she was dressed up to attend a special work function with my father or simply wearing the nearest old clothes she could throw on quickly in order to do an amazing job of cooking, gardening, keeping the house clean, welcoming unexpected visitors or caring for children and grandchildren, her favourite pastime. She liked to make waves in her hair with bobby pins and to add some dye when the grey started creeping in. She dreaded anyone seeing her without the full set of false teeth that she regrettably acquired as a teen and I used to be puzzled when she suggested a pair of tweezers as the only necessity on a deserted island. I remember her saying how sad it was to look in the mirror as a seventy year old and expect to see a twenty year old instead – because in her heart she was still the same person. Like me Mum was not fond of the camera in middle age so I will honour her with a photograph from earlier years.
My handsome Dad made no secret of the fact he was not comfortable with getting older. He always kept his wonderful moustache neatly trimmed, controlled white hairs before they were given a chance to even think about appearing and he fought to the end to keep his own teeth. He had a shoe collection that labelled him with a nickname ‘the centipede’ and he wasn’t afraid to wear a pink shirt if that was the current fashion. Immaculately dressed as a business man, he still looked the part doing the shopping or taking over the kitchen on a Saturday to give my mother a break – only then the long pants were exchanged for bermuda shorts and knee high socks.
So, why choose the topic of ageing and vanity for a blog post? Well, this week I am turning 55 and clearly not looking and feeling any younger even though I seem to become more and more at ease with my childlike qualities, habits and interests (too many to list) as years go by.
Do I keep dressing in basic black because I teach and perform or is it because dark colours are slimming? Do I avoid the hairdresser because I like having lengthy locks or is it because my crowning glory is all that remains of my youth (admittedly, slightly enhanced with a supermarket sachet)? Will I ever prefer a make-over, manicure or massage to a market day, music lesson or mothering mission? One thing for sure I will always be maternal and if I can’t have real babies I’ll continue to have fake ones (yay for brilliantly realistic and comforting reborn dolls).
Unfortunately I didn’t keep up with new year resolutions such as returning to my daily walk, limiting the intake of Cadbury Flakes and Top Deck chocolate, stopping the nail biting and avoiding stress however having a birthday in September presents a spring fresh opportunity to set things right before another year ends.
One thing among these ‘new age’ tasks is to consider updating my facebook profile photo from me at ‘forty something’ to an image more current. I feel more inclined though to share a picture from the old family albums and take a step back in time……to perhaps
What do you think Mum and Dad? (Oh how I miss your words of wisdom). Maybe I’ll just wait until age 60 to decide. Seems like plenty of time to think it through unless of course the years keep slipping by even faster than they have been already.