I've always had a bit of a thing about getting old....it's long been a standing joke in my family that I'm 39 every year, my brother even writes it in my card each year, along with some cheeky comment (he can afford to be smug, he's exactly a year younger than me). I can remember waking up on the morning of my 30th birthday and thinking 'this is it...it's all downhill from here!'. On my 40th I decided that I didn't actually want to be 40, hence why I stayed at 39 forever after. Oddly enough though, when I was approaching 50 it didn't feel so bad - I kind of felt like I'd finally grown up and was able to start doing whatever I wanted to, as opposed to doing what had been expected of me up till then. So I had my belly button pierced and got 2 small tattoos (a pansy on my forearm and a butterfly on my foot) just shy of my 50th birthday, they were my birthday presents to myself. I didn't tell husband until after they'd been done.....he just raised his eyebrows and smiled when I showed him, he's not really shocked by anything I do. I guess it was my kind of rebellion against middle age.....sort of like a middle aged bloke suddenly buying a motorbike and a medallion necklace.
(Incidentally, the belly button piercing, which I loved, didn't last long - I caught it on the edge of a box I was lifting at work, nearly ripping it out....it went septic and I had to have it removed!).
My darling Nana, who I loved to bits and who died when I was 14 and she was in her very early 60s, always seemed like an old lady to me. She always wore the same thing - a long sort of wrap around floral apron/overall, she must have had a few of them.....most of her neighbours wore the same kind of thing, like a uniform almost. On her feet she wore sturdy lace up brown shoes, even indoors, her hair she wore loose, unlike her neighbours who all had theirs in a bun. Nana's hair was pure platinum, I thought it was lovely and different, as her female neighbours all had grey hair. She didn't dye it, it just naturally went that colour. My Nana looked the same - old to me - all my life, despite not actually being that old at all.
The women in my family aren't really conventional dressers. My lovely Mum has always favoured a sort of hippy style, she wears long floaty skirts and dresses in bright colours, with one of her large collection of colourful scarves and shawls....not necessarily in colours/patterns matching her dresses! But Mum doesn't care whether they match or not, she wears what she likes. Well, wore - past tense now as she's bed bound, sadly. I have as my laptop screen saver one of my favourite photos of Mum, she's sat in her garden, wearing a maxi length leopard print dress and a bright purple cardigan, it was taken by my sister in early summer this year.
My sister, 4 years younger than me, is a sort of Goth - she wears lots of black and purple and dresses like Morticia of the Addams Family, she has pale skin and uses dramatic makeup. Her hair, dyed blonde like mine, is shaved on one side and long on the other. She looks fantastic, she's very tall and striking looking, whereas I'm short and dumpy. My sister is always perfectly made up, with long purple or red nails and matching lipstick, whereas I've never been a fan of makeup, much preferring the natural look.....I feel quite scruffy beside her.
I live in jeggings (a cross between jeans and leggings, for the uninitiated) or brightly patterned lycra leggings, t-shirts or sleeveless tops in the summer, fleece rugby shirts in the winter. I like bright colours and bold patterns, being a big girl I think I can carry it off, even at my advanced age! Not that I care what anyone else thinks of what I wear, anyway. That's an advantage of older age.....you cease to worry about how others view you.
My hair, naturally a sort of nondescript mousy blonde, has been dyed continually ever since I was about 14 or 15....nearly always light blonde, although I've had brief experiments with other colours. I went red for a couple of weeks once years ago - a mistake, it didn't suit my English rose complexion. I've had it purple a few times, which I really like but not the dusky greyish lilac it fades to. I've also had blue or bright pink highlights now and then.
So this is me at (almost) 60, trying on a lovely shirt I've bought specially for my birthday. We'll be going out for a birthday meal with friends on holiday, so thought I ought to make a bit of an effort and dress up for the occasion.