I have to admit, I am really struggling with the idea that I am almost 40. I have no idea why it is such a big deal because quite a few of my friends have gracefully and graciously turned 40 and it doesn’t seem to be the end of the world but for some reason, the whole idea of being 40, with then 50 being the next big “date” in the age range, freaks me out.
I don’t feel almost 40, in fact, I like to pretend I am still about 12. Which works until I open my eyes, in the morning, see that the post two babies body is still the same as it was the night before, leap out of bed, then curse a little because leaping out of bed isn’t something I can do with as much grace any more, stagger to the bathroom and look in the mirror and realise I most certainly don’t look 12, pull out a grey hair or two, then greet the small children clamouring for my attention or bathroom space and it dawns on me, that I am the age that I remember my mother being, and she seemed so grown up and if I am honest, “middle aged” and it scares me that suddenly, I am in that age bracket. Wasn’t I just yesterday holding hands with that boy from year 5, trying to avoid getting caught when I should have been in extra maths tuition. Didn’t I just come back from my first glorious visit to South Africa, on my last final fling before settiling down to be a student nurse? Didn’t LSH and I get married? Time has gone so fast!
Recently I have worried that I am getting middle aged and boring. This has sent me into a mild panic. I have started to refuse to be clumped into that “35-50” bracket, you see on the forms you are filling in, which years ago, I used to skim over and think, “that won’t be me, I will never be old enough to tick that box” yet now, here I am. I have started to look at life, and think about how I can liven it up. I don’t want to be one of those ladies wearing clothes that are more appropriate for her teenage daughter, but I don’t want to be boring. I don’t want to wear comfy, sensible shoes!
This week, in what LSH is fondly calling Karen’s midlife crisis, I went to buy myself some new shoes. I am currently restticed to trainers or running shoes, to minimise the impact of my busy and rather physical day, on my damaged knee, and the pair I was wearing were getting rather worn out. I popped into a local shop that sells all sorts of brands, got rather distracted by a flowery pair of Doctor Martin Boots, then managed to flag down a very young looking sales assistent. I explained to her that I needed comfortable, supportive shoes, because I run around a lot, and need shoes that will support my knee. She used a rather whizzy app (ok, now I am sounding middle aged) and produced a few photos of shoes to show me, to choose. They were all black, comfy looking and REALLY BORING and what I would consider old lady shoes, with a designer price tag! I looked a bit crestfallen and asked her if she had anything colourful. She found a pink pair (I got very excited) but they didn’t have them in my size (boo) but then these flashed up on the screen….
I HAD to have them. I asked the sales assistant if they were available in my size, and she looked at me, rather warily. “Really? They are rather bright? Are you sure?” I was so excited, I was already taking off my old shoes, so she went off to get them. Poor girl, I am not sure what she thought, this mad woman coming in and demanding such florid creations!
She brought them out, and I tried them on and fell in love even more. “They have flamingoes on them” I exclaimed, prancing in front of the mirror. The family next to me with a small child in a pushchair were most amused, and their toddler also admired my shoes “pink bird, Mummy, look!”
I told her I would take them and she boxed them up, still eyeing me very warily, and as I paid for them she told me “you are the first person to buy those” in a tone of voice implying I would probably be the last. I skipped out of the shop, and sent LSH an SMS with a photo of my new footwear. He knows me well by now, and merely replied “lol, as long as they are comfortable and ok for your knee?”.
My children are horrified, because apparently I should be wearing boring, black, comfy shoes and these flamingo treads I am thoroughly enjoying wearing are certainly eye catching. Big Girl rolled her eyes then laughed when she saw them, and Little Man thinks they “are a bit bright Mummy”.
But I don’t care. If this is my mid life crisis, then I am going to enjoy it. If fancy, brightly coloured (but oh so comfortable, I am not going to deny) shoes that my children are embarrassed to be seen with me, when I am wearing them, is going to make me feel better, then I am embracing it. Safe to say I have had a few comments on my footwear, this week but I don’t care. I love that I can embrace life and at nearly 40, have the confidence to wear what I want, that makes me happy. I don’t think I could have said that at aged 12, or well into adult hood, actually. I secretly also think my mum would have approved of these shoes, I like to think so, anyway. I think she would have understood!
Now, to see if I can justify the flowery Doctor Martin boots I saw in that shop too….