Honestly, not everything is better after 50 … but plenty of things are. Just ask Jennifers Aniston and Lopez.
You can stand out from the crowd with a few statement pieces.Credit:Stocksy
Let's face it, your figure is not actually better than it was at your nubile peak, it's not even better than last year, but it feels like it is! This excellent development has to do with a number of factors, including: gratitude for what you've got, and a surge in self-confidence (which kicks in at 51). Post 50 we become slightly deluded about all sorts of things, but mainly how attractive we are. This is good, given that most of us have spent large chunks of our lives underestimating our assets – refusing to wear short skirts when our legs were perfectly good. So make the most of it.
Henceforth stress-free because you have found your groove. Never again will you present a picture of Alexa Chung to your long-suffering hairstylist. You're not weighing up the pros of a fringe or considering a mink colour wash; you're sticking with what you've got and spending more on blow-dries.
Quite a grand term for what we are up to, but anyway, it's like the hair thing: we have a plan and we no longer feel the need to deviate much. It is true that sometimes we like to pour money down the drain during "dwell time" at the airport, but mostly we have edited down the basket of half-used products and it is a huge relief.
All of a sudden it feels like the time is right for the ultimate purge. The first-date dress. The battered Prada platforms. The faux-lynx Kookai coat. Out it all goes. Out, out, out.
YOU CAN NOW BE DARING REALLY EASILY
You can stand out from the crowd just by wearing oversize earrings or a silver top. You can make an entrance just by adding a giant pink scarf or some white boots and get 100 per cent more respect for making that effort than you would have five years ago.
THE RATIO OF WORN TO UNWORN CLOTHES IN YOUR WARDROBE
Not saying we don't have endless gloomy cream tops, bus-conductor-style black trousers and Cuban-heeled ankle boots. But we are much more on the ball about what we'll actually wear. We hardly ever get lured into buying the embroidered wrapover top thing these days, and feel a lot calmer for it.
It just gets better and better. Bed is lovely, and now you have a whole new hobby – bed landscaping. You can drift around West Elm or click on the Adairs website and browse through the options while dreaming of the day when you upgrade to a super king with 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and a topper and … As of now, beds are level pegging with property porn.
You have the percentage thing sorted. You know how to spot an infuriator from a spirit uplifter, and no one is slipping you a guaranteed hangover any more, thanks.
Just kidding! No, it's the same! There may be a bit less of it during the week, and it may involve a bit more negotiating ("What if we wait until tomorrow when there is no chance of your mother walking in"), but otherwise it's business as usual. And the good news is communication is at an all-time peak. (You are communicating like crazy, he's looking a bit dazed.)
THE MEAN GIRLS
All those women we thought were terrifying are now not remotely scary. This is partly to do with them having mellowed (and worked out that they need other women) but it's also to do with us having arrived at the Don't Care stage.
We are not easily intimidated any more. I mean, sometimes we will have an attack of the screaming inadequacies after having dinner at the house of a turbo woman (oh, the home-made pasta/very small, slightly waist-baring top …) but nothing like as often as we used to.
NO MORE FOMO
You don't get it in the same way. In fact you have FOHTGO (fear of having to go out) now that you have finally got your house in more or less the shape you want it, and there is plenty in the fridge and, let's face it, an awful lot on the TV planner.
Not to say there aren't the same old flashpoints, but you take each other less for granted, and maybe you don't expect as much as you once did. So, they're always late … and they never pay … and their dog is a liability … That's now something you'll overlook for the pleasure of their company.
Not long ago you would have gone berserk if your husband had given you a drill for a present, or a heavybottomed pan, but now those are the things you actually want – and oddly they feel more thoughtful than the earrings and the scent. You're easier to please, in that way.
You're not holding back, with anyone: people you were at school with; work colleagues; neighbours. The unspoken rule now is "Let's cut to the chase". Do you really want to talk about the traffic on the freeway, or shall we get down to the hell of sisters who think you got a better deal in the will?
Because you're now officially past the point where you have to pretend you want the full embed experience. So instead of scouting around to find the most authentic, middle-of-a-no-goarea spot, you can just check into a boutique hotel and be done with it.
The postman. The bloke in the cafe. The owner of the bike shop. Every single man you meet, whatever their age. And it's so fun! Because this time you're showing off, spreading the joy (not hitting on the 19-year-olds).
Now that the children are YAs and old enough to join in, and they have friends and everyone has a godchild staying in their spare room, there is more of an age mash-up at parties, which really ratchets up the energy levels.
TALKING TO WOMEN AT PARTIES
Because we have important stuff to tell each other and the men are lagging behind a bit. We are fired up, full of chat, and other women get that.
Empty, half empty, about to empty … You're emerging from the smoke and ashes as a calmer, better-looking place. The mostly cream Berber rug is on the floor, the best glasses are on the shelf.
As in roomy, light-filled, with a roll-top bath and a view of trees. This has leapt up the list of things that makes us very happy, overtaking a washboard stomach and people guessing our age way younger than we are.
Finally, everyone gets the point of the gallery visit and the schlep to the top of the hill, just to see the view. Bliss.
This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale May 19.
Stella Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph (UK)
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