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Monday, 27 February 2012

The Great Post-40 Southward Migration

Since I turned forty I began to notice that some areas of my body were apparently hell-bent on migrating southwards. What was once easy to keep trim suddenly sagged with a determination so ferocious it was initially quite alarming. What once was perky, wilted most of the time and bloated the rest of the time. And what once near shone with elasticity came to more closely resemble one of my mother’s crocodile handbags. I suppose multiple years of abdominal surgeries and toxic but necessary medications helped make much of the abdominal muscle-weakening inevitable ( although a heads-up from some bloody doctor at an earlier stage would’ve been nice…wait, no, it was all done on the NHS so I should probably think myself lucky the surgeries didn’t actually kill me and stop expecting such frivolous extras ). One good thing though, I’ve always been fortunate enough not to have had serious weight issues so the sagging, wilting, and general lack of perking are not accompanied by calorie-hoarding! It hasn’t, however, prevented the need to purchase a whole new wardrobe of jeans and trousers, the ones I had having mysteriously begun to pinch an inch wasn’t there before as the abdominal muscles get progressively weaker and more prone to feeling the pain of pinching. And I’m so past the stage of forcing it for the sake of appearance. I understand now why they call them slacks because after a certain age, that’s all you bloody well want them to be!

We live in a world obsessed with youth, beauty, physical fitness, and the idea of some elusive perfection, evidenced by the celebrity images we are daily bombarded with. In the midst of the dazzling smiles, perky bottoms, and buff pectorals, it’s easy for we mere mortals to forget that celebrity is as much about smoke and mirrors as it is about anything vaguely resembling reality. So the 38 yr-old Kate Beckinsale may have poured herself into the skintight leather once more for ‘Underworld 4’ ( and bless her indeed for doing so, the world needs Selene and her skintight leather ) but at what cost does such a physique come to Ms Beckinsale? When was the last time the poor dear spent a weekend lazing on the couch in front of the TV, with a nice cream cake and a full-fat frothy cappuccino and just indulged herself, without giving so much as passing thought to working out? And I don’t want to hear any of that crap about being able to eat anything without putting weight on…yeah, I can do that, too, but weight gain isn’t the issue here. The issue is the increasing vigor with which one must battle gravity as one gets older. That other notorious skinny cow, Victoria Beckham, was once snapped by paparazzi sporting a visible protrusion of belly, which prompted the slavering question “ Is Posh Pregnant?” Mrs Golden Balls calmly responded that no, she was not pregnant, she simply gets bloated sometimes just like everyone else! I may not ordinarily have much time for Posh, but it was nice to hear her admit to being a victim of the same imperfections as the rest of us.

The rest of us who often just do not have the time nor money - nor frankly, the inclination - to devote ourselves 24/7 to the vigorous honing of a perfect body. And sometimes you just don’t have the physical ability either. Some of us forty-somethings would simply prefer to accept that we are human, and therefore imperfect. Find a level of fitness that is comfortable, and turn blind eyes and deaf ears to the celebrity bombardment of orange tan, cabbage-soup diets, and pumping iron ‘til you puke. We embrace our flaws instead. Better still, we toast them with a big old glass of vodka or another beer ( no, not lite beer - are you fucking insane? ). I may be going on forty-two and be sagging, wilting, wrinkling, and long past any perking, but with thirty-some years of medical mishaps behind me, my abdomen has earned the right to look a little more like Buddha and a lot less like a washboard.

You couldn't pay me enough money to squeeze my saggy, bloated self into that outfit.
But I'll happily pay to see Ms Beckinsale do so!

1 comment:

  1. Still one of my fav blog posts about turning 40, no matter how many times I read it :-)) xx