“The really frightening thing about middle age is that you know you'll grow out of it." - Doris Day
I've never had a problem with middle age. I like it. There’s the grey hair that has forced me blonde, the increasing girth, the hormonal chin hair that you never seem to notice until it’s flapping in the breeze threatening to take someone’s eye out, the deteriorating eyesight, and those sudden internal temperature fluctuations that I’m told are to be expected but which I firmly believe are symptomatic of burgeoning Spontaneous Human Combustion.
I've resigned myself to having my hips replaced, and to having to sleep with a mask on because I disturb the neighbours...on Rottnest. I’m OK with going out for a social drink and feeling it’s been a late night...at 7.30. I’m OK with my favourite perfume suddenly giving me a rash and no longer recognizing the back of my own hands.
None of this matters in comparison to the wonderful sense of settling into your own self, finally gaining the perspective years of dumb choices has given you, and the pleasure of having your response to the world with the odd “fuck you” accepted as eccentric and somewhat charming. No amount of peculiar physical changes can compete with the lovely peace you find in your own company, the pride in the achievements of, and friendship with, adult children, and the sense that you've earned a right to be here.
However, I was not prepared for...cankles.
Not at this age! And you know why I have cankles? Because my arthritis medication causes fluid retention! My feet look and feel like foreign bodies. I occasionally poke them just to watch the dimple created refill with fluid. I feel like an Oliver Saks patient. “These feet are not mine...”
So I’m prescribed diuretics. They give diuretics to someone who already has to wee twice after a cup of tea. Not to mention the failing pelvic floor muscles. I’m going to either wet the bed or turn into June Allyson.
Keep your legs elevated as much as possible, the medical professionals tell me. The last time someone said that to me I was wearing stilettos and a spray of perfume (the same one now giving me a rash).
I've never had a problem with middle age...