Being a 46-year-old woman is wonderful. You really are in your prime. Any fears that you may have had back in your younger days are conquered.
There’s no better age. This is what I chant to myself as I wash the dishes each night.
Last week, aged 16 and 6 weeks, the oracle that is is my teenage son declared: “I don’t get scared anymore. There’s nothing I really fear.”
Hmm, pity thought I…This might mean the end of the “Right. That’s it! Where’s the phone? I’m ringing your dad. Let’s see what he’s got to say about this shall we?” tactic that I’ve been using for the past 14 years.
Oh, to have the confidence of youth.
I remember that feeling.
If I try really hard.
I would look at those older women through my greasy, teenage fringe and use the words ‘sad’ to describe their behaviour. Phff. They needed their husbands to drive on the motorway. How pathetic is that?
When I was about 10, one of my best friends had an aunt. Auntie Greta.Whenever Greta’s husband went away on a business trip, my friend would have to go and have a sleepover at her house. “Just so she knows there’s someone in the house with her” my friend’s mother would say when asked why she had to spend her Saturday night with a smelly old woman. (She was probably about 43 at the time).
God knows what she thought a 10-year-old girl was going to do in the event of a burglary. I wouldn’t mind, but her aunt Greta used to make her go to bed at 8 pm so she could watch Crime Watch in peace.
Oh, to be 16 and to have no fears.
”You reach an age, and you’re just not scared of things anymore”. My boy declared.
It may be my paranoia, but I’m sure I caught him looking at me as if to say, “you’re a loser and a scardy cat cry baby.”
That might have been just me though.
Admittedly, I’m not one of these mums that go on a family skiing trip and leaves her kids behind on the ski slopes. Zooming down the black run with her hair blowing in the wind yelling words of crisp encouragement. Agile little hips thrusting from side to side determined to take on the powder at whatever cost.
Not quite, no.
I’m the one who takes her skis off on the blue run and painstakingly side steps down the mountain smiling up at all the old (er) gits on the chair lift as if to say “beautiful day for a walk isn’t it?”
But even so. It doesn’t mean I’m scared of everything.
Just some things.
Things That This 40 Something Woman Is Currently Scared Of (But Only a Little Bit):
- I’m scared of my children leaving home. Me just sat there. Popping an antacid looking at old photos and asking Brian if he remembers that time I couldn’t get down that blue run.
- I’m scared of my children never leaving home. Going to the supermarket with my lad when he’s 42. Letting him choose his own cereals and giving him a push in the trolly for being such a good boy.
- I’m scared of running out of wine.
- I’m scared of going into the loft to get the Xmas decks. There are mice up there.
- I’m scared of falling down the loft ladder frontways.
- I’m scared of forgetting the poo bags. No matter that the dog went for a poo in the garden 2 minutes before I came out, she will still insist on curling one down in front of the surfy, cool, picnickers sitting down there on the beach.
- I’m scared of falling over. Anywhere. Especially in the street. Oh, my God. Can. You. Imagine?
- I’m slightly scared of trampolines. A big fat bouncy trampoline. Sitting there with its stretchy springs. Luring me into having a little bounce and to piss my pants.
- I’m Scared of the cats getting locked in. Or out. Or being hungry. Or getting run over. This is such an old women fear- it’s embarrassing. I don’t think I even like cats. How the hell did this happen?
- I’m Scared of my hormones. There’s no saying what they’ll do one day to the next.
- I’m Scared of the bags breaking when I carry the shopping out to the car. Passatta tomatoes smashing all over the car park. Double bag that please my love, and no, I don’t care about the environment thank you very much.
So no Mr smarty pants. I admit I’m not this fearless warrior. When a lady gets ‘older’ she gets ‘careful’ that’s all.
I see him look at me with those no longer scared eyes.
“Is there anything you’re not afraid of?” He asks.
We are sitting in the car out in the driveway waiting to nip into town.
Before I answer I have to rush back into the house three times. Once to check that I’d blown the air freshener candle out in the bathroom, twice to check that I’d turned the oven off, and a third to make sure the cats weren’t locked in.
I wrack my muddled up brain and try to think of any fears that age has banished. There have to be some advantages of being 46.
It’s actually very easy.
Those hormone tablets must be working.
Fears That This 40 Something Woman Has Conquered:
- Going into a public toilet and the door not locking. Dirty old men? Toddlers? I’m not fussy. I could do with the company.
- Getting lost. No problem. I’ll ask anyone, for directions. The other night I asked a nice young student the directions to a theatre. “Sorry I don’t know” he said. I started to walk away, he must have taken pity on me. He called me back and sympathetically explained, “you could always try Google”. Damn. Why didn’t I think of that? These young uns, they know everything.
- Head teachers. They are just ordinary men and women doing their job. They go to the toilet too you know. Just like the queen.
- Starting my own business: It’s been years since I’ve worked for someone else. Starting and running my own business is the only way for me. No scaredy cat feelings where this one is concerned thank you very much laddy.
- Crying. I used to try my utmost not to cry in front of anyone. Especially the kids. Homeschooling requires that you live in each other’s pockets for 12 hours a day, so that was the end of that silly youthful fear. Have a blub I say. Show your emotions. Let it all out. Remember though, there are two types of crying. ‘Weeping,’ which is enough to smudge your mascara and then the ‘tri cry’. This is where tears, snot and spit meet at the end of your chin- a little like the Niagra falls. Best keep this one for the bathroom with the door locked. Like what I do.
So yes my boy. It’s fabulous being 46 and not having to worry about those fears any longer. I know you are 16 and are not scared of getting mugged or of watching Carrie, but there are fears that you will secretly have. Fears of walking up to a girl and saying “hi! Want to go out with me?” Don’t worry too much about this one though. Just remember. She might look cute now, but I’m telling you, wind the clock forward 30 years and she’ll be there telling anyone who’ll listen about her cats wheat allergy.
Best stay with your big brave mummy. She’ll let you have a ride on Daddy’s shoulders if you’re a good boy.