Saturday, 31 March 2012

Turning 40

Me- I told you I was tired

As much as I try to deny it, I am turning 40 by the end of the year. Sigh. The thing is, I feel 15 in my head. But the sad reality is somehow different: just like everybody else, I am not getting any younger. My energy levels are not the same: after a week spent caring for my flu-stricken daughter, I am knackered. The good news is that I look less like a monkey because of Jasmin, the lovely lady who threaded my growing moustache and shaped my thick eyebrows. But the bags under my eyes seem to be here to stay and it doesn’t feel good. And who said acne is just for teenagers? I seem to have started a competition with my older daughter on that one –she is actually better than me at covering the pimples with foundation. Damn it-. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted without putting on weight. Well, not any more. And the last time I had a haircut, we removed 25 grey hairs. Against only two 5 years ago. Life is cruel. And it keeps getting worse.
It is time to face the music: I need to upgrade my maintenance regime. But is it really worth it? Should I try to fight the ageing process or just embrace it and not care about the way I look? I sometimes wonder. What is the point of going to the gym more often, making sure that I stick to the right(-ish) diet, and spend forever at the hair salon? I will get older anyway. In short, it is a fight that I am bound to lose. So why bother?
I know that I have to be careful. There is a tsunami of divorces amongst my friends and I would like to remain happily married as long as possible. Which probably means that I have to make an effort (So unjust: my husband looks sexier and more mature with grey hair, I just look older. That said, all this running has paid off, my tummy is much, much flatter than his!).
But frankly, I am of two minds. I don’t know what to do. Most of my friends have done Botox and, frankly, they look great. Maybe I should try it too. Obviously I will vigorously deny that I have ever considered it if you ask. It is all part of the game…And should I whiten my teeth? The very thought of using some sort of dentist-approved bleach on my poor teeth doesn’t sound very appealing.
Guys are so lucky: do you know how much it hurts to wax your legs, underarms and…the rest? Do you really?  We women all pretend that it is fine and we are used to it but it doesn’t make it a nice experience, just a very common one.
Right, I need to work on a new maintenance regime then. Because I am a fighter and will not let myself get defeated by a silly number (BTW tell me if I need to do Botox please. Be honest).


  1. You do NOT need botox. Your kids WILL let you sleep again and just keep exercising and you'll feel great! I highly recommend a sugar free life as well, it makes me feel so in control of my body, life and future.

    and - watch this film - Hungry for Change

    Smile! :)

  2. I think there is a certain dignity & strength in accepting aging & ultimately mortality. I'm not saying we should just let ourselves go; we should take care of ouselves but I think that acceptance of the inevitable is also a facet of self-care. Acceptance of the impossible is the inspiration behind this poem: ~ a fellow nearly 40 year old woman :-)

  3. No to the botox! Resist the pressures of glossy magazines and desperate celebrities - you are far better than that; and you do not look nearly 40 if I may say so!

  4. I will not tolerate this self indulgent whining from my favourite French Yummy Mummy!

    The fact of the matter is you look great because you are great - You are in a great place in your life, living a life which is worthwhile and you have achieved a lot - education, career, hubbie, home, two little monsters and your very own business!!

    What's not to like?

    As for Botox - the stuff is actually made in Ireland and how did the idea of injecting poisonous toxins (that's the tox in Botox) into your face to look artificial seem clever?

    Teeth whitening is a fetish - far better to ensure proper gum health and keep your real teeth!

    And lastly 40 is nuffin! Wait till you get to 50!! Pour moi, I left the country to avoid the world and on my 50th b/day I went up in a hot air balloon over the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and afterwards went to see the mummy of Rameses I in Luxor Museum. I just had to see a face older than my own to (temporarily) get my confidence back!

    Get a grip!

  5. I agree, no botox - ghastly stuff.

    However, I have recently had my teeth whitened by the dentist and they look GREAT. It was my dearly beloved who wanted me to have it done because he didn't like looking at my tea-stained off-white teeth. He also put his money where his mouth was...

    I also have my hair coloured regularly and that makes me feel really much better too. It's a natural colour so comes out really well. My photo no longer speaks the truth as I changed back to a light brown last year. Blond is so high-maintenance!

    I'm 48 so in even more need of a helping hand but growing older gracefully (and a bit disgracefully too).

  6. Dear Muriel, you are one of my longest and sincerest followers and I believe I am one of yours; we have forged new boundaries in the never ending war between the French and the English, and endured the ups and downs of life as a team. If you do Botox I will personally disown you! It is what Botox represents. It is not sufficient to age gracefully, you must have injected into your flesh for the rest of your life what I believe is an animal by-product so that you can have what someone else deems an acceptable form of beauty. First and foremost this sends an appalling message to your two daughters, who are watching every move you make with increasing intensity. Do you think THEY should have Botox one day in order to keep their husbands? See how silly it sounds when you put it like that? In short, the answer is NO, NO, and NO!!!
    Your forever friend,

  7. So candid, I love it! Muriel, I will match you point for point so you can glimpse what I will and won't do about aging.

    I'll be 49 by Thanksgiving. I remember the angst of entering my 40s, and all the rapid changes that brought. For a while I told myself I'd coast into aging minus the fuss...and then I was brought up short by that infamous dance partner-dumping episode you might remember from my blog last summer. Traded in for a 25-yr-old, harrumph.

    Instantly I did an about-face and resumed the maintenance. By which I mean dyeing (at home) the stark white roots atop my head so I don't look like a skunk (since I have very dark hair). Using Supersmile toothpaste daily, which is the only brand that whitens crowns. How ironic to whiten dental crowns and darken follicle crowns! I have practically no hair on my arms, legs and upper lip, but I have to darken my sparse eyebrows. At least waxing is not necessary.

    I get on my elliptical glider an hour daily in addition to teaching dance several evenings a week. I've always been good about portion control, so overeating has not been a temptation. But yes, it's easier to gain weight now from the same amount of calorie intake, so I've had to move about more. Gardening is a pleasure, and spring is so welcome!

    Since I've grown my hair out, my husband seems to be more enamored, and has asked me to promise never to cut it so short again. Other than that, he has no other touchy areas about how I look. Personally I'd love to zap my neck lines away, but since he is 10 years older at least I am not in danger of looking like his mother anytime soon!

    Botox is never going to touch me, and I am not in the least bit tempted.

    Be gentle with yourself, Muriel. I think entering midlife can be as traumatic as entering puberty was, until we relax into it. The main thing to do is quit comparing ourselves now to our 20-something physical selves (not to mention the 20-somethings around us.) We are so much wiser, more accomplished, and kinder.

  8. Thank you very much for your detailed response. Now I feel a bit guilty: I don't do half of what you do- you seem so fit!
    Why do we have put us through all of this again? I too have very dark hair (and very pale skin). I haven't dyed my hair...yet.
    I know that I mustn't compare...but I feel more and more invisible.

    Anyway, I will take it one day at a time.

  9. Thanks Elizabeth! You seem very passionate about this. The thing is, I find it hard to become older. Especially as a woman.
    Should I give up or make an effort? Botox or not Botox, it is tough to keep fit (-ish). And it takes a lot of time! And I want my daughter to have as good-looking as possible a mum. Maybe my expectations are too high.

  10. Thanks Sarah! I might consider the teeth-whitening doesn't get any easier, does it?
    Nb: you look great!

  11. Thanks for he sanity check, David...I know that I can count my blessings. But when men get more mature, women become older. With more wrinkles.
    Unfair but true.
    Should I let go or make an effort?

  12. Thank you, Accidental Londoner! I am not getting any younger and looking OK-ish becomes more and more difficult.
    Sigh. My advice: don't grow old!

  13. To be honest, I feel a lot better, I like your idea of sugar-free life. I have cut down for the last couple of days and I feel great. I can't believe it! But will it be enough to avoid Botox? I will see in 6 months...

  14. I will be turning 40 this month! I am actually pretty happy with it. Not that there is anything I can do about it. I intend to grow old gracefully. I will change my eating habits and exercise habits in order to maintain some semblance of myself as I age but I think I will forgo the botox and other things that cause you to look something other than yourself. I am considering having my very first facial peel. I consider myself fairly low maintenance. I dye my own hair. I have very black hair color and you can spot the gray from a mile away. I don't wear a ton of makeup but I have added foundation to my regime to even out my skin a bit. We should throw some kind of turning 40 blog hop since we will both be 40 this year. Take care and you are beautiful just the way you are!

  15. I think Botox is a personal choice. What has put me off so much of that stay young stuff is the sad fact that when someone is older they don't look like a young person no matter what they do. They can look good for their age, sure - but the hands, the neck, the particular expression that shows Botox, the hair dye, the sagging places, the stiff knees when they get up... good for their age, but nothing compared to a young person. Depressing, huh? but that's life. Be glad you're not dead, (that's the alternative to getting older.)

    BUT having said that depressing stuff, doesn't IMHO mean do nothing. Health is really important and so I think it's wise to keep moving, eat properly, be active, try to be happy, be involved with other people, the stuff that you will be glad you did when you reach 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 or 90 or 100 :D


  16. Growing old isn't nice, is it? You are right, there is no alternative. But having to eat sensibly and the rest of it is not something to look forward to, is it? Ok, ok, I will have to be more reasonable then. Sigh.

  17. Muriel, the best thing you can do is just stay healthy...FOR YOU, first, then for your kids (they need Mom, or Mum), and then hubby/rest of the world.

    As a guy, yeah, aging is what it is. But, don't allow outside pressures make you think you are not still beautiful or worth anything. If you're husband is only with you for your looks...not saying much (and I don't think that's the case). You're too much of an intelligent woman to let that get in the way.

    Waxing sounds painful, no matter where it's done.

  18. If you are comfortable with the idea of botox, then go ahead. I honestly don't think you need it. As for the gray hair, 25??? That's nothing. I've stopped counting mine and now don't even bother pulling them out. Sometimes, when I feel like it, I dye my hair at home. Weight? Let's not talk about it. Anyway, I agree that some effort needs to be made and that we should do our best not to let ourselves go. But I also want to believe and do believe that marriages work out and last for reasons other than the superficial. Maybe you feel this way now because you're knackered and have been sleepless? In any case, hope you feel better soon :-))

  19. I am turning 40 next year and am already freaking out about it. Like you I still feel like a teenager in so many ways and wonder how did I get here! I don't think you need botox by the way you look like you have good skin. Also have just discovered your blog and have enjoyed reading a number of your posts. G

  20. Marie from Rock The Kasbah7 April 2012 at 01:51

    I'd say no for botox. You don't need it! AND, if it (or any other procedure) goes wrong it looks really bad. Not worth the risk in my opinion. Working out and eating right though. The complications from that? Living healthier and boosting your mood! It's a win-win. Not that you need anything lovely lady!

  21. I think that it is just me. I seem to have a problem with it. My husband likes it as he seems to be taken more seriously.
    As for staying healthy, I love my food, so it is hard work!

  22. I feel better now (Phew!). But I don't find growing older any easier. I don't feel any pressure from hubby to look younger or anything. It is just me I suppose. I don't want to let go of my youth. I might have no saying in the matter anyway!

  23. Glad you enjoy my blog...As for turning 40, well...We don't have any choice, do we? So we will have to make the most of it!

  24. Thanks Marie! But you seem to age without a wrinkle! What is your secret? As for a healthy diet, it is great on the paper, but I love my food. Sigh. Life is tough. Why do we have to give up all the good things?

  25. Maybe we should create a club? Seriously, you are happy with turning 40? How did you do this? I am far from happy. I wonder how I got there. You see, I still feel very young in my head...

  26. Muriel, these are things we all think about at some point, but you're very brave to blog about them! I'll just say, I'm a lot older than you, and I have avoided "getting crazy" about it. I want to look good, but I refuse to take extreme measures to do so. It's more important to take care of your health. Walking and weight training and not eating junk are far more important than any strictly cosmetic measures. That said, I might have to whiten my teeth at some point. As an American raised by an English mother, drinking tea since I was two has taken its toll!