‘Going Grey’ was the phrase on my lips this weekend.
I’d decided late on Friday night that I was going to repaint the snug.
I’d only painted it just before Christmas but the colour just didn’t suit.
And hey. It’s only paint at the end of the day. I’ve never been one for shying away from trying new colours.
If it doesn’t work, paint over it.
So — instead of a pale silver (that did the room no favours at all) — I decided on the darkest, moodiest charcoal grey instead.
My boy and I make a great team — especially when it comes to painting and decorating. I am responsible for cutting in with a paintbrush whilst he fills in the middle with a roller.
We adopted those roles so naturally. I don’t remember there ever being a discussion — we just started out that way. And here we are, twenty years on, doing the same thing.
Twenty years on.
A whole lifetime.
And here-in lies the thing that had been bugging me since my birthday last week.
I am getting old.
My skin is beginning to show signs of age.
And, like the walls of our snug, my hair is going grey.
But the visible signs of ageing are not really the thing that was upsetting me. Odd that when you start talking about ‘growing old’ everyone just assumes you’re talking about looks.
I’d posted a pic on Instagram early on Saturday morning.
Nothing unusual about that. It was a normal pic — nothing special — just a picture of me in my lovely new coat, that my boy had bought for my birthday.
But as I’d posted it — instead of a little caption about my coat — I’d gone off on a bit of a tangent and ended up writing about how I was feeling.
But it really, really wasn’t anything about looks.
The post was written in fear — rather than pride. Fear of the future. Fear of losing my parents — Richard’s parents. The dread of losing the love of my life. Anxiety of not being around for my own beautiful boys.
My birthday — instead of promoting joy and excitement — had thrown up so many negative thoughts.
I don’t look my age. And I certainly don’t feel my age. But chronologically — and biologically — I am that age.
But I am not ready to be any older. Not just yet.
I want things to stay exactly as they are. And this is the crux of the matter.
Things are perfect at the moment. My boy and I are so happy. We have each other; our health. We have our beloved sons; who we’d waited so patiently for.
We both still have both of our parents. All of our siblings.
We both have our own businesses — careers that we love. Working for yourself can be scary and unpredictable (especially at first) and for quite a few years money was very tight. But for the first time in ages we’re doing well financially.
Sure we could do with a bit of extra cash (who couldn’t?); but things are comfortable after a long time of scrimping and saving.
Life is good.
Life — for me — is perfect. There is nothing I want that would make it any better.
Apart from to stop time.
Things can change in a heartbeat. I know this only too well, through losing my friend.
But — death aside — one of the things I’d questioned, in my little rambling Instagram post, was whether I’ll actually ever begin to feel my age? I certainly do not feel as though I’m in my mid-forties, that’s for sure.
In my head, I’m still twenty eight.
Which brings me on to an interesting theory, flagged up by one of my friends in response to my question. Which would certainly explain why I feel the age I do.
He said that the disparity between chronological and mental age usually starts at around the age of eight, when we start to think of ourselves as older than we are; a fourteen year old thinking they’re eighteen for example.
The gap begins to close and at the age of twenty-five — or thereabouts — our body and mind finally sync and we feel our age.
Although — don’t get too excited.
After that, the gap in chronological and perceived age starts to grow apart in the other direction. By our early thirties there is already a noticeable difference by just a few years. The gap continues to grow and those who are sixty-five have a perceived age of fifty.
Which is how he knows about this stuff.
He works for a funeral plan company and said that although they market their funeral plans to the over fifties, they know full well that the majority of people don’t even begin researching them until they’re sixty five. As that is when they think they are old enough to start looking at those sort of things.
He finished off by saying.
We’ll always be much younger in mind than body. All we can do is to try our very best to live young too.
Amen to that.
And so endeth the tale of ‘going grey’.
The snug looks amazing in it’s new shade by the way. And I feel better, having spent a full and happy weekend surrounded by friends and family. My fears have been shelved.
Until next birthday.
And the moral of the story is, no matter how old your birth certificate says you are, unless you’re twenty-five you probably won’t feel your age.