FOR­GET THE UP­SIDE

Shane Wat­son on turn­ing 50

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS - By Shane Wat­son.

Ni­cole Kid­man is turn­ing 50! Woo-hoo! Isn’t that great? Be­cause 50 is the new fab­u­lous, and Ni­cole — like all women turn­ing 50 these days — is hap­pier, busier, more in love, fit­ter, bet­ter at whip­ping up crab lin­guine ... than ever be­fore. You could be for­given for think­ing that life for women is a bit “meh” un­til we reach our half cen­tury. You might have the im­pres­sion that only neg­a­tive think­ing, and the lack of a top “der­ma­tol­o­gist”, is stand­ing in the way of your 50s be­ing the best decade of your life.

So, now seems like a good mo­ment to run through the short­list (no room for the long one) of things they don’t tell you about turn­ing 50. Just in case you were start­ing to feel like the odd one out.

One night of missed sleep — e.g. the sweatathon that was last Mon­day night — and you’re good for noth­ing. You look like Marty Feld­man. You’re re­duced to tears by dis­cov­er­ing your tooth­brush needs recharg­ing. You lose the power of speech, as in: “Have you got … you know… it goes round in the air, fast … You Know! A Fan!” Oof.

You lose wardrobe op­tions at the rate of one item ev­ery six months. You may start 50 look­ing okay in a lace dress, and end it look­ing like Miss Hav­isham. Your blame­less navy cardi … sud­denly a bit re­tired royal nanny. Some of us are per­sist­ing with an­kle-laced es­padrilles, but hon­estly — it’s noth­ing like it was first time around.

You look funny danc­ing. You have no idea, and then some­one plays back the video of you and your girl­friend pre­tend­ing to be Ad­dicted to Love

style back­ing singers, and it turns out you look like ladies do­ing pool Zumba.

You develop all these fun-lim­it­ing con­di­tions. Cof­fee af­ter 2pm? Nope. Sit­ting cross-legged on the floor? Not un­less you want to be rolled on to your side and hauled up to stand­ing by your armpits. Se­cond mar­tini? Yes, but then you may have to lie on the bath­room floor for a bit.

There’s a whole list of things you can­not face do­ing which you’d have leapt at not long ago. Go­ing on a fer­ris wheel (any­thing to do with fairs). Go­ing club­bing. Go­ing on the hol­i­day that in­volves three plane jour­neys and a ferry. Ex­er­cise. No longer op­tional. All change on that front.

Cer­tainty. You were cer­tain about ev­ery­thing in your 40s, but now you’re go­ing over some of it with new eyes.

Wor­ry­ing. Not just the reg­u­lar list of wor­ries, but fussy-lady type wor­ries: does the flight get in a bit too late? Will it get stuck in my teeth?

Some­times you still think, “Whoa, I am en­ter­ing the party in my jump­suit. Pay At­ten­tion!” But lit­er­ally no one cares.

…Yes — it is still ab­so­lutely true that men, 89 per cent of them, can­not see you. They clock you and think ei­ther “some­thing ob­struct­ing my view — that’s bet­ter” or “Oh God, an old one”, or “Mum”.

Not say­ing there aren’t plenty of up­sides, but then you’ve heard enough of those.

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