Well, it is, isn’t it? It’s a month of reflecting on the past and being excited about what lies ahead. It’s the time when our clothes feel a bit tighter and our skin looks a heck of a lot grayer due to epic over-indulgences.
It’s also time to embrace winter and all of its layering opportunities. This week alone I’ve rocked an artic explorer look , an ice-skating princess ensemble, and tried out being a russian spy for the day. All good fun.
January, aka the month of good intentions – of being good to our bodies and our minds. I started well, but failed on wine-down Wednesday. It turned yesterday a very long day indeed. This first full week back in the office has been long – we were all knackered by mid week (hence the afore-mentioned wine-down) as everyone is used to working in small, concentrated bursts. I’ve had to lure people into meetings with the promise of biscuits. But it’s now Friday and the energy levels are rising appropriately, we can smell the weekend coming, and it smells of duvet.
I’m in the midst of hatching a grand master plan for 2014, and that’s what I love most about January – I make the first in a series of plans. Compulsive list-making session imminent.
Getting my hair cut used to be an absolute ordeal, but finding a hairdresser you trust is one of life’s great pleasures. Especially one you can enjoy a glass of wine with.
Over the years I’ve had my fair share of hairtastrophes, namely:
- when a hairdresser cut into my ear rather my hair (ears bleed more than you think they would)
- when a hairdresser gives you chemical burns and your fringe falls out
- when you ask for an inch off and they give you a pixie crop
- when a perm took so long I had to leave the salon with my hair dripping wet and still toxic to make the ferry home from university
Thus, when I find a hairdresser who makes me look great and feel fabulous, who’s had me in tears of laughter and who I trust enough to say, “do what you want” – that’s someone I’ll share a glass of wine with. Lately this has been mid appointment, although she waits until all the chemicals have been washed out and the cutting is complete before quaffing along with me.
One of life’s guilty pleasures – you bet. But I leave with a smile and a swagger (minus the bobble hat) looking my best.
Last week ended reasonably calmly after all – I even managed to fit in three consecutive workouts – an absolute first. Although it did mean I felt every one of my 41 years by Friday night. How I miss the energy of my misspent youth!
Yesterday I finally managed to go to my long awaited hair appointment where my lovely hairdresser transformed me as always into an improved version of me – if somewhat neater than usual – and with some flame red attitude. Less librarian, more Florence and The Machine.
I’ve returned the inappropriately youthful clothing and have a lovely pair of boots on order instead – what can I say, you can never have too many pairs of boots – especially ones you could walk a few miles in.
I’m also looking forward to a visit from my parents who are south of the border from Wednesday through Saturday. Our family is scattered around quite a bit so it’s lovely to spend time together however infrequent it is. Let’s hope I can keep up with them – they could put an Olympic Athlete to shame at times.
And so I’m entering into next week full of my usual optimism and devil may care attitude. Wonder if I’ll make it to 10am Monday with that optimism intact?
I turned 41 this year which was a relief if I’m honest. That benchmark year (the one with the ‘0’) is behind me and I can now completely embrace my fabulous forties, without lamenting the loss of my youth.
I’m lucky that both me and Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits still have a full set (parents, siblings, etc), and know how incredibly lucky we are that we have been blessed in this way. And then we watched “This is Forty” – and could relate to a lot of that film. Left to our own devices we still feel as though we should be supervised at all times, but we know what we like, and are comfortable with the choices that we’ve made and the life that we’ve lived and which we continue to live.
We also understand each other, I’m cold in the evenings but suffer what can only be described as hot flushes in the mornings and the Mr is the opposite (well, without the hot flush part). On our recent holiday, by the time I shuffled out of the shower, he had already opened all of the windows to cool me down (he gets weirded out by my sweaty upper lip – but then again, who wouldn’t?)
I also love clothes and admire those who have an individual style (hence my following of MasonBentley and Citizens of Fashion). I think that I’ve found my signature look and and I don’t tend to veer away from it very often – if I feel weird in anything then it’s a no-go. I still make mistakes – but regular readers know my penchant for internet shopping and those little (or big) parcels of loveliness – so any mistakes can be returned easily, sans embarrassment. Occasionally my heart rules my head – this week I have a big return to make – I made the mistake of trying to recapture my rock chick days, but in a more grown up sophisticated way. I opened the afore mentioned medium-sized parcel of loveliness that arrived, but realised my error when the office fashionista deemed my purchases ‘brave’. And she’s 22. She approved of one of the pairs of shoes, but when I put the chunky heeled size 3’s on, I felt like a real life Minnie Mouse. Needless to say, it’s all going back.
And so, I reiterate, 40+ is a funny, but totally fabulous age.
I’m not your typical naval-gazing modern day philosopher, nor do I pretend to be so. I struggle with trying to do everything – work, friends, family, exercise, hobbies. I’m so busy trying to get better at all of it that I forget to stop and think; to take stock of my life.
I think that we’re all guilty of that – but sometimes we need to remember to be content, to truly live in the moment.
Yesterday, Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits came home from a long day’s filming and told me how moved he’d been by a story that he’d heard on the radio. An old lady had written in to thank the presenter for keeping her company, she enjoyed his show and listened to the radio a lot since her husband had died a few years ago. She used the radio to keep her company, and listening to music that she’d listened to with her husband brought her comfort through her loneliness and seclusion.
This sparked a conversation that we should never either take our lives nor each other for granted. I realised that I am blessed on so many fronts, that I experience a deep and meaningful love and I have a rewarding and challenging career. We have enough money to live on and have a small amount of savings should something in our lives go awry. We have siblings, our parents and an extended family which have enriched our lives and who continue to stimulate us.
I am thankful for the life that I lead and the choices that have brought me here.
As I watch the news, read articles and features and see what is happening in the world outside of my own little bubble, I realise how lucky I am to be here. It all could have been so different. I am truly happy.
I have 3 general moods:
- Happy go lucky
- Bit out of sorts
- Truly, madly, deeply weepy
Number 3 is my code red. It usually only comes on during a particular moving film; the first incident occurred after watching “Truly Madly Deeply” with Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits. We hadn’t been dating for very long, and he had only experienced the normal aspects of my personality, along with my over-tired giggly self. We both love movies and he thought a bit of a romantic weepy was in order after a stint of more serious-minded films. Bless him – he knew not what he did.
I loved the film itself, but I was in such a state of teary-eyed despair, that Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits was seriously worried that I was going to dehydrate, He was prepared for me to cry a bit – and cry I did, for hours and hours. I was inconsolable, I couldn’t stop – that film was just too heartbreaking and I’m a true romantic – love literally does conquer all for me.
He did eventually realise that I was indeed a stable and rational being, but that when I feel something deeply, I have to let it run its course. We choose films more carefully these days.
I had another of those experiences last night watching “A Late Quartet”. Again, I really loved the film, but I felt it a bit too much, especially two thirds into a bottle of red wine. Mere tissues could not cope with the amount of water pouring out of me, drastic measures were required, my fleecy throw had the soft texture required and was also super-absorbent . Definitely not a pretty sight, but nearly twenty years on, my Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits is now used to those little moments of madness.
Now, we all know that exercise is good for us.
But it can be hard to seamlessly incorporate it into everyday life. There’s usually something else a lot more fun to do. I’ve struggled with my weight for over 15 years (cheese, wine, curries and crisps are a few of my favourite things) and I hadn’t exercised seriously since my school days.
But something had to change & for me that was Boxing Day last year. Enough. No more wibbles, no more dressing around my size. Now, for some people, their goal is to be thin. Mine is different, I want to be strong and toned (not a body builder physique, but definition and strength). Thinner is the bonus that comes with both of those things. At school I used to swim, a lot. And I was strong, ridiculously strong for my size. I hanker back to those days – so I asked Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits to help devise a good programme for me, part cardio weight loss, part help me get the body that could monkey bar my way out of trouble. 7 months later I’m doing well, there have been a few slips (read these as nights out) and maybe one too many packets of crisps along the way, but I am in much better shape and am so much happier in myself than I was 7 months ago.
There have been laughs, and if I’m honest, tears and tantrums along the way. I can exercise easily enough by myself, but it’s hard and it’s boring – so for me, it’s so much more fun to have my gym buddy helping me. He reminds me to breathe, corrects my position when I’m doing something wrong and is a constant source of either encouragement or motivation.
My body shape is changing, I have muscle tone (which I love) – but by far the best aspect is spending time on improving your wellbeing with the person that you love. It may be corny, it may be twee, but I treasure these times. I only wish that I had started 10 years ago, but it’s good to know that I have a better body at 40 than I did at 30. It’s all about balance and I’m starting to get that balance right.