My Seven Visible Signs of Ageing
I have long railed against the beauty industry for all its age-shaming skin care advertisements. ‘The First Global Age-Defying Skincare’ screams one and ‘Reverse the Face of Time Now’ exhorts another. And the one I have always taken particular exception to is the advertisement that told me that I must eradicate the ‘Seven Visible Signs of Ageing’ from my face as if each one was a shameful mark of my failure to stay young and beautiful.

However, even though I see myself as still very much paddling in the shallows of older age (maybe up to my knees?), I have to acknowledge that I might be exhibiting ‘Seven Visible Signs of Ageing’ not so much in my face but in my attitudes and behaviours. 

I’d like to share these Seven Visible Signs of Ageing with you partly in a spirit of disclosure, but deep down I wonder If I am actually seeking some kind of confirmation that I am not alone? 

Like the seven visible signs of ageing on the face - are the things that I am now experiencing universal or is it just me? 

Well, I’ll never find out if I don’t tell you, so here goes:

My Seven Visible Signs of Ageing

1. I’m very grateful for comfy shoes

I fought this for a long time. Frumpy ‘granny’ shoes were a thing of horror to me. Maybe I was scarred as a child by my own grandmother who had to wear a pair of brown lace-up orthopedic boots, one of which had a built up heel to compensate for one leg being shorter than the other due to an accident. Any footwear that connotes ‘orthopedic’ is therefore anathema to me. So it is with great relief that during lockdown I have been able to try some specialist shoe brands like Sole Bliss and Calla and discovered that style and comfort can go hand-in-hand (or should I say foot-in-shoe).

2. Oh - the joy of a stretchy waistband

Since I started to self-isolate in March I have resolutely refused to lower my standards of self-care. Every day without fail I have washed, removed my nightwear, applied my face makeup and sorted my hair. On 23rd March I made my first Teatime at the Ritz video and realised that no-one could see what I was wearing on my lower half, so I dolled up my top half and pulled on a pair of Sweaty Betty’s over my bottom half. And so it has stayed throughout lockdown, because stretchy lycra exercise leggings are incredibly forgiving of a largely sedentary lifestyle whilst also working perfectly for sudden manic bursts of pedalling on my little pink exercise bike.

3. I’ve started to make a slight ‘grunting’ noise when I get up from the sofa

What is it about sitting for long periods of time? Why do older bodies seize up and become stiff and a bit sore? I have carried on religiously doing my twice weekly personal training sessions albeit via Zoom. I bend and stretch and balance and do lunges and bicep curls with weights and goodness knows what else to keep my body as supple and agile as I possibly can. And still I make that little noise when I heave myself off the sofa. Tell me this is normal!

4. My hearing is definitely not 100% (but it doesn't bother me in the slightest)

But it definitely drives other people up the wall! That’s the thing about very gradually losing your hearing, you adjust and you hardly notice it. I now watch the television with subtitles because I know how loud my TV has to be for me to catch every word (and my, how they mumble in a lot of dramas!) I live alone so it’s really not a big deal and in normal daily interactions I am mostly fine as long as there is no ambient noise (pubs, restaurants). I am sure that one day I’ll go and get it sorted, but in the meantime it’s brilliant when I go to sleep because I lie on my ‘good’ ear and none of the noises of my busy London street bother me.

5. Certain foods have to be avoided if eaten late

This is a relatively new phenomenon and it is certainly inconvenient. I tend to eat my main meal of the day at around 8pm. I dislike going to bed before 11pm and rarely sleep before midnight. So I have always reckoned that four hours to digest my meal is perfectly adequate. However I have recently experienced some very disturbed nights when I have eaten something a bit rich (creamy, oily) during the evening. I would have pooh-poohed this before, but I suspect my digestive tract is no longer as robust as it once was.

6. Technology still feels like an optional extra

I watch my grandchildren around technology and can see that for them it’s akin to breathing. It holds few fears and little mystery. I have come a very long way in my acceptance that technology must inevitably permeate almost every aspect of life, but I still can’t quite come to terms with it. Just now, I airily mentioned Zoom calls with my personal trainer under lockdown, without telling you that it took me about 5 or 6 goes before I could seamlessly join the Zoom call with her. Whenever I have to get my head round some new device (a Smart TV, a new mobile phone) I can feel a sort of weariness descend. But I usually get there in the end.

7. I see a young man and think ‘I’d be so proud if you were my grandson!’

That’s exactly what I found myself thinking last week when the young footballer Marcus Rashford spoke up on behalf of disadvantaged kids to persuade the government to provide meal vouchers for them during the summer. Once I might have thought ‘how lovely to have a son like that!’ and now I think ‘how proud I’d be if I was his grandmother’. Doctors, policemen are all mere children - or is that just me?

When I was a teenager and my dad made a disparaging remark about something that I was enjoying on the TV (I can remember once watching the Beatles on Top of the Pops and him saying ‘he looks about as vigorous as a mole’ of my idol Paul McCartney) and I would think to myself ‘I am never going to be an old fogey like you when I get older.’ I believe passionately that we are ageing very differently from our parents’ and grandparents’ generation, but just recently I have to admit that some of those pesky signs of ageing are creeping up on me. Please tell me I am not alone!?

Do have your say! I love to hear from you and I know that others who follow this blog enjoy the comments too. Tricia x