FORGET THE UPSIDE
Shane Watson on turning 50
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.