I was entertaining my colleagues at work the other day to add some laughter and fun to our otherwise extremely mundane day.
It was one of my disastrous date stories from another era. I have many. After much hilarity one of the girls said “Oh Jackie I hope I’m like you when I’m your age.”
I smiled graciously while inwardly thinking “Excuse me? My age? Are you not older than me? Do you even want to live to see your next birthday?”. I offered to make the teas and coffees … should I put laxative in hers?!
I nipped to the ladies and scrutinised my reflection in the mirror. Same person that brushed her teeth this morning …. closer… the tell-tale lines in between the eyebrows, which look like a tattoo of the figure 11 … closer still… some lines around what was a nice pouty mouth. Another chin joining the face uninvited and unwelcome. The face of a 56 year old woman. It’s not mine is it?
Call me Carrie…
My mind is actually 33. I’m Carrie from Sex and the City, I’m Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle, I’m definitely Bridget Jones. So why is my mother staring back at me in the mirror? As Carrie from SATC would say: “It got me thinking. Is my 33 year-old self stuck in my 56 year old body?”
Let’s start with my playlist in the car. See how young I am, I can create playlists! Mmm, Dirty Dancing, Luther Vandross, M People etc, nothing from this millennium, oh except Pharrell Williams’ Happy, I mean everyone’s got that, right?
My makeup? Same foundation, always three shades darker than my skin, bronzer (ditto), same brands, same shades, exactly the same.
Hair. Same short bob behind ears, blonde highlights always – no toffee, chocolate or any other flavoured highlights, just blonde. My Braun hot brush. Always had one, always it completes me. I’ve just not moved on!
I still flirt, I still feel like an excited girl on the cusp of some unknown marvellous adventure, I squeal when greeting friends, I dance instead of walk most of the time. I’m 33 for God’s sake I’m allowed to!
Oh no wait, hang on, I’m not 33. I’m really not. Not even near. My work colleagues don’t see me as one of them, they see me as their second mother.
Objects of my flirty smiles and saying “hi” in a Meg Ryan way smile back at me but not in a good way, more a “why-is-Jackie-acting-weird way?”
I’m trapped, let me out, who is this woman staring at me in the mirror? No amount of moisturiser, exercise or water is going to bring that 33 year old face and body back.
Disaster. An earth-shattering horrendous disaster. Or is it?
The 33 year old Jackie was pretty, slim, fun, exciting. She was also insecure – I thought I was fat when I was a size 8 – had several disastrous relationships (I mean lots of Daniel Cleavers and no Mark Darcys), lots of fake friends and a job that stressed her. She was very lonely sometimes and Sundays and Christmas Day were her enemies. It wasn’t always Sleepless in Seattle or Sex and the City. It could be very Bridget Jones singing All by myself.
The 56 year old Jackie could do with shedding some pounds – oh okay, two stone – and changing her make-up. She no longer has fake friends though, she learned how to erase them from her life, she has lovely friends. She has a wonderful hubby who adores her and she is his world and he hers. Not Mark Darcy or Daniel Cleaver, think more Peter Kay. She is kind and wants to bring joy into people’s life every day, like telling her disastrous date stories to encourage laughter and cheer somebody’s day.
Sundays and Christmas Days are now magical. She still sometimes cries but that’s life – and the menopause… don’t get me on that subject! I like her, she’s a pain in the proverbial occasionally, but I like her.
I go back into the office with the drinks. No laxative in you-know-who’s coffee, well maybe extra sugar, she can’t stay a size 10 forever, right?
I’m a bit wiser than I was half an hour ago. I smile to myself. I then apply my red lipstick, give my best Meg Ryan smile and say hi to the new Finance Director who looks slightly like Daniel Cleaver.