Thursday, 26 February 2015

Turning forty doesn't hurt...REALLY?!

"It doesn't hurt. Honest." So said a number of friends on the approach to my milestone birthday.  

I don't consider myself to be a particularly fragile person.  However three months into this business of being forty and guess what? It does hurt. A lot.

Let's get the vanity issues out of the way first, shall we? On the grey hair front, individual strands have morphed into wiry forests of full-blown white.  Fine lines have turned into crevices.  And don't even get me started on the injustice of having both wrinkles AND adult acne.  Surely one or the other is sufficient?

Maintenance costs
These are directly related to the unfortunate phenomena above.  Cleansing one's face with a baby wipe no longer cuts it as a beauty regime. Ditto to buying cheapo home hair dyes. The more mature lady requires a considerably larger budget in order to look semi-human. Enter my new obsession with the latest anti-wrinkle creams. And let's not dwell on my rocketing annual hair salon outlay.

The eye-watering expense doesn't end with beauty products though. The wardrobe needs to up its game too. Gone are the days when you can trip into New Look, select the first pair of £20 court shoes in the right colour and waltz out again.  Oh no. Forty-year old feet require quality footwear. And by quality I mean expensive. Likewise, the clothes shops of your teenage years with their teeny sizes (and teeny prices) are no longer your domain. Instead, you beat a path to the Hobbs sale because "their fit is so much more flattering."

In fairness, I was warned about this one. A super-fit forty-something friend told me that she has to "do more just to stay in the same place".  No kidding.  I've upped my own regime with no tangible improvement in - er - anything.  Then there's the aches, pains and creaking joints to deal with.  I crouched down to retrieve something in a meeting recently.  The crack from my knees almost caused an echo.  If I don't die of decrepitude, I may well die of embarrassment.

Online form filling
Always a tedious exercise, this has reached a new level of discomfort.  I've now joined a bracketed age group that extends to 55.  Then there's the scrolling backwards to find one's year of birth, which takes an eternity.

I do, however, always like to end on a high. With that, let's consider my new eligibility for the veteran's category in running events. It may seem depressing, however it also means that I'm no longer competing against lithe eighteen year olds.  

As one fellow forty said: "Let's enter everything this year, while we're still the youngest."

Amen to that.

Enjoyed this article? Why not like Average and Proud on facebook or follow me on Twitter?

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Excuses of a homeworker (and what they really mean)

Having freelanced for around a decade now, I've shared a lot of stories with others whose roles also involve an element of homeworking.  

There's a unique quality that you need to become a successful homeworker. No-one really warns you about it though. It's nothing to do with organisational skills or self-discipline, however handy these may be.

It's the art of ad-libbing, thinking on your feet and trotting out smooth explanations without a trace of hesitation. Ones that make it sound as though you're operating from a purpose-built glass-walled office when the reality of your working environment is something entirely different...

Here are just a few examples. (They're not all mine. Promise.)

Sorry I missed your call. I had to step away from my desk for a minute.

Translation: I nipped downstairs to shove the third load of washing into the machine.

I'm away from my desk today with limited access to email.

Translation: I rashly volunteered to help out in my child's class today.  I will be furtively checking emails during break time.

I have someone with me right now. Can I call you back?

Translation: My bewildered-looking partner has just entered the room clutching a shopping list and in desperate need of further instruction.

Please excuse me. I'm just about to pop out to a meeting.

Translation: The meeting is with my own offspring who are about to exit the school in three minutes. 

I am on annual leave this week.

Translation: I have decided to swap the stress of dealing with you for the stress of dealing with my children full-time for the next seven days.


Once you've got this little lot down pat, you really can't go wrong. After all, the ability to think on one's feet is surely attractive to potential clients?

Addendum: If any of the fabulous people I work for ever actually read this, please know that I love doing what I do for you.  Despite the lack of glass-walled office.

Enjoyed this article? Why not like Average and Proud on facebook or follow me on Twitter?

Friday, 13 February 2015

Five things you want to say to your tween daughter after an argument (but don't)

I thought about writing and posting this in the direct aftermath of our ugly row.

But I decided that wouldn't be fair.  It wouldn't make for particularly balanced reading either.

The dust has now settled and our differences are patched up, Yet I still find myself reflecting on what was possibly the first of many similar scenarios to follow over the adolescent years ahead.

So, while they remain imprinted in my mind, here are the things I wanted to say to my ten-year-old after our argument but didn't:

1. Even though others had warned me this stage was coming, I naively thought that it wouldn't happen to us. And I'm not handling it as well as I'd like to.

2. I was mad at the world at your age too - possibly even more so.  Despite this, I was terrified at the level of anger pouring out of you, directed at me.

3. That thing we were arguing over? It'll mean nothing in five years' time.  Chances are neither of us will even remember it.

4. You might be the one sobbing.  But I'm howling on the inside too.

5. We'll get past this argument. And many, many more. And I'll always love you.

Come to think of it, perhaps I should go ahead and say that last one?

One of my own favourite bloggers, Kristen Welch of We are THAT Family, describes parenting teenagers as a hard kind of beautiful.  Some days are more hard than beautiful.  But we get through the hard ones, in the hope that beautiful ones will follow. The key word here is 'hope'.

How do you cope with the challenges of parenting a tween? Leave a comment and let me know.

Enjoyed this article? Why not like Average and Proud on facebook or follow me on Twitter?