For a long time, from about 20 till 35, I'd say, I felt that I basically looked the same. My haircut may have changed, I may have dropped or gained a few pounds, but my face was my face and that was that. I buy the moisturizer, I use the sunscreen, but it all seemed very hypothetical until I found myself looking in the mirror and thinking that I should buy some of that serum stuff I've been hearing about, because I need all the help I can get. (That's not true. And what about ageing gracefully? I believe in that, don't I? Still, no harm trying.)
Mabel looked at me quizzically one day and said "What are those lines?"
"Those ones on your forehead where it's bumpy."
"You mean bumpy like this?" I raised my eyebrows. She laughed and traced the ridges on my brow with her finger.
"Those are my wrinkles," I said.
"Do it again!" She was delighted with them. Now when she and Dash get out of the bath or the swimming pool, they examine the pads of their fingers for their own pruney wrinkles. So exciting, so fleeting.
Those diagonal lines from the sides of the nose to the edges of the mouth: they're coming. They're not here yet, but I can see the shadow of where they will be, inexorably, in a few years.
It's very odd to be approaching 40. (I'm not. I'm approaching 39, but there's a certain inevitability about what follows.) It's very... middley... I was thinking yesterday. I can't honestly claim to be a young adult any more, but I'm certainly nowhere near old. I suppose they call it middle age for a reason, but I absolutely refuse to consider myself middle-aged until at least 50.
But it's odd because I don't feel any more sensible. I don't feel any more boring or more staid or more responsible. I was always fairly sensible and responsible to begin with, I suppose, and it's true that I have lost a little segment of information about what's current in music and reality tv, but that's only because I moved to America and stopped listening to 2FM, and because we happen to get most of our television from the Internet. I listen to the classical station in the radio because it has no ads and I like to think it calms and educates the children, not because I dislike popular music. I certainly haven't started gardening yet. Knitting is way out. (Not that liking gardening or knitting makes you old. They're just two things I always think I'll probably get around to wanting to do eventually, some day in the far distant future.)
Are all octegenarians actually experienced 25-year-olds with bumpy foreheads who have lost touch with popular culture and like to garden instead? It's not how I thought it would be, is all.