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Middle age suits me just fine


Rear view of middle aged woman

Ageing. Looks fading. Tight faded denim jeans that have shrunk in the wash no longer the look. Just boring old tents and sacks, which is all that fits me. No longer able to wear the nice clothes that I could once wear in my early twenties but still cannot bear to throw them out.

Feeling old and ravaged way past the forty mark. Also well past my prime. Never forever young. No longer being mistaken for a pretty young thing and being put out to bloom for the whole world to see.

Out of the running for even a fling with the most non eligible of bachelors no matter how hard I try to change and defy mother nature.

I have seriously considered such quick fixes and remedies as liposuction, facelifts and Botox which often don’t work and I know really are in many ways old wives tales. However no man now chases my tail. In many ways my looks seem to pale in insignificance.

Instead I often feel like a walking time bomb rather than a young wonder or child prodigy always looking straight ahead and taking everything life has to offer instead of having to answer to a chief half my age in the workplace. However, sadly I still want to cry out aloud like a baby at my wrinkled fate and sorry state no longer being able to kid myself that I still have the same high metabolism that I did when I was a kid.

For me, life has indeed been served on a plate and looks rather more like a done dinner than a fresh salad. I have been left in such a terrible and poor state that even the most easy to please of construction workers no longer notices me as I go down the street. However I still try all the time to prove myself and my existence and tell myself that it is what is inside that counts.

I do though often go through life looking down instead of up ashamed of my soaring weight and other multiple signs of old age from scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles not to mention the rough mounds and bumps which I can no longer lovingly call love handles. The only youthful thing left behind are pimples. These harsh maladies although clearly visible still make me feel totally invisible to the point where I want to scream and tear all my grey hairs out. It is a sad fact of life that I can no longer get away with trying to hide or take up to a decade off my age no matter how many diets, rigorous exercise or facials I try out.

The only good thing about looking rather slovenly and matronly is being given the respect I never got in my twenties and deep down loving being called Madam. I also now insist on using my full name rather than the informal abbreviated and in many ways disrespectful;  Is, Issie, or Bella I got when I was younger even if Bella does mean beautiful. However I must admit I still love being called 'young lady' although this doesn’t happen too often anymore.

I know I can no longer try to act young going off with the fairies and wearing a tutu like when I did when I was younger. Too often I feel like a has been, too old to party, too old to rock and roll, too old to stay up all night long or even upstage the cast of The Bold and the Beautiful. But I know I am here for the long haul and still in the running to be the best I can be, no matter how old or tired I am and in many ways deep down this is all that matters.

Finally, in my middle age I feel much more empowered and no longer so cowered towards authority. In many ways I am my own boss now, with my writing. I also no longer like when I was younger give up the fight and money also is not so tight. I also feel much more right with the opinions that I make. In general I feel much more in control of my life. I also get far more out of love and relationships and travel whilst making far more sound decisions and avoiding all types of derision.

So as I daydream applying thick layers of expensive cream that I pray will give me youthful beauty I ponder that just like my jar of combination cream my life is also a great combination of young and old which suits me just fine.

Isabella FelsIsabella Fels is a Melbourne poet and writer. She has been published in various publications including Positive Words, Mental Illness Voice, The Big Issue and The Record.

Middle aged woman image by Shutterstock.

Topic tags: Isabella Fels, ageing, personal narrative, disability, fashion



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Existing comments

I love your writing, Isabella. Being somewhat older than yourself, I am no longer middle-aged, more like lurching towards old(err) age. I have an appointment with my optometrist for a field vision test this afternoon - these dates being the most exciting in my life. I also hope to fit in a visit to the chemist to check out the latest expensive creams. I'll make sure they place them in a brown paper bag for me to carry home! Will I ever grow up, I hope not.

Pam | 21 July 2015  

Enjoyed this story - thank you!

Emma Rossi | 22 July 2015  

I always feel happy when I see there is an article from you Isabella. We have never met in person, but in heart because you are so honest in your writing, that I feel as if I have received a very honoured gift. You write beautifully and your word plays and rhymes are unique and oh so sharp! Thank you.

Pauline | 22 July 2015  

Lovely piece, Isabella, resonating with a conversation my husband and I enjoyed last night. Approaching 70, a few months into an entirely new career, he's been offered a lovely opportunity in the sporting world - something to keep weekends interesting! I've also just commenced a new career, at the same time preparing to return to writing. A few months ago we moved from the city to a regional town - astonishing what this has opened up for us both. I look upon my wrinkles as life underscoring potential opportunities that come with age.

Ruth | 22 July 2015  

Thank you for your article. Turning 50 was suppose to be fabulous and it was on party night...but then I woke up, looked around and saw a scene that I no longer fitted. It's been a few months and my mind has been searching for some clarity of how I ended up here. Don't get me wrong my life has gifted me in so many ways just by living it fully and yet I see I've morphed into a 'someone' that I don't really recognise. The answers and the self talk that I know to be true and would usually give me a positive and uplifting motivation to change and adapt no longer have the pull they used too, so I've now declared it a jubilee year. On hallowed ground my body, my mind and my spirit are taking time off so I too can come to terms with this new stage in my life.

Julie | 22 July 2015  

Isabella I love everything that I have seen of your writing, but this might be the best yet. You have so much to be proud of and I'm sure you look just perfect. Ageing has much to commend it. Be proud to have survived.

Sheelah Egan | 22 July 2015  

Isabella this is a well written piece with just the right touch of humour and many women will, I'm sure, relate to it, if they are honest! Glad to know you now 'feel much more empowered and no longer cowered towards authority'. And that the 'combination of young and old' suits you 'just fine'. This is in many ways a feminist statement! Sadly, it's hard to imagine a man writing anything like this about his experience of reaching middle age. Perhaps some of the feature writers of Eureka Street might take up the challenge to do so!

Ellen | 22 July 2015  

Very skilfully written. Well done Isabella.

Dawn Kay | 23 July 2015  

Isabella - I feel the same! Being of a similar age and stage, I identify with everything you've written. But as you say, there are definitely some positives to maturing, and I'm glad you're seeing those as well. Here's to being older and wiser! xo

megan | 24 July 2015  

Isabella, a piece that spoke to me enormously. Well written and a fabulous smack of honesty that we don't often see written. Thanks for bringing a smile to my dial this morning as I nodded in agreement throughout.

Maree Stuart | 29 July 2015  

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