Friday, October 8, 2010

Oh my Lord I'm Feeling Old!

I had a “God, I’ve aged!” moment this morning. Let me start from the beginning…

Before I seriously immersed myself in my writing cave this past year, I looked young. I went out to a party with my eldest daughter last October and someone asked her, “Who’s your friend?” Of course, we pissed ourselves laughing at that and explained I was her mother. I can’t blame them for thinking how they did. I had my daughter just after I turned eighteen and I was also acting like a younger person by freaking out on the dance floor to House of Pain’s Jump Around. Um, yeah. I love that song.

Anyway, my daughter and I, when she was still at uni, used to go and have our hair and nails done every couple of months. She’s a darling and treated me every time. We’d go together, sitting side by side having our locks chopped then leave the salon hoping no one we knew saw us. The stylist never did our hair the way it was supposed to be—don’t you just hate that? I have mine in a trendy cut, yet they blow-dried it to make me look forty years older. Ugh. Then we’d run to the nail salon and sit like royalty, reading trashy magazines while the lady attended to the acrylics. White tips, square cut…God, I’m drooling at the memory.

During that time I felt so…confident and pampered. They say if the outside of you looks good, you feel good on the inside. I can vouch for that, because now my daughter is working full time as a social worker, and I’m deep inside my cave writing, neither of us have had the time to do the hair and nails days. We talked the other week about feeling a bit poo about ourselves and discussed whether we were vain, whether hair and nails mattered at all. After all, we’re still the same people now we have bitten nails and split ends, but…we don’t feel as “nice”.

So I looked at myself this morning, really looked at myself—something I try not to do because I don’t like what I see (another topic entirely)—and thought: You look old, my dear.

I have wrinkles I didn’t have last year. Grey circles beneath my eyes. Split ends a hairdresser would cuss me out for, not to mention a style that isn’t a style but just hair. And that hair…I haven’t dyed it in a while and I can see by the roots that if I didn’t dye it at all I’d be completely grey. That’s a family thing, that we all go grey early, not age, so I don’t feel so bad about that but…

It frightened me.

And then I thought of how rundown I’ve felt lately and wondered if me not taking time out to make myself feel better has attributed to that. There is something to be said for chasing your dream, that you sacrifice many things, because it’s hard work, you have to remain focused, and you don’t stop even when you get to where you want to be; you still have to keep honing your craft so you get better with every book.

I read a line in a book last night. It went something like this: A writer is known for neglecting their family, holing themselves up in a room alone, and not washing.

I had to smile at that, because, although I try not to neglect my family, I can say that for the past five years I haven’t spent as much time with them as I should. And there are days I stay in my pyjamas… I don’t have an office because if I did, I’d always be in it. My family would never see me. So I write in the living room. I’m there but not “there”. Available if anyone needs me, but for the most part, if I’m writing, I’m left alone.

And then that brings me to whether I need to find more of a balance. Can I continue to write as I do without sacrificing memories? I try and think of things we’ve done as a family that my kids can remember when they’re older, and I fear that all they’ll remember is: Mum sat at the computer all the time…all we ever saw was her back.

So, here are my questions:

How do you feel as you’ve aged? Are you fighting it? Does it scare you?

Do you do the hair and nails thing? I’d go out right now and visit those salons, but due to the economic crisis, I can’t justify spending that kind of money just to make myself feel better. There are bills to pay, blah blah blah.

And if you’re a writer, how do you balance your time? Do you feel you’ve neglected your family or other obligations? Do you wash (lol, sorry, couldn’t resist that one…)?


Tess MacKall said...

Yes, I wash. LOL No, I don't sit in my PJs. I do actually dress each morning too. However, I did stop doing my nails and hair. No time. And when I had the time from editing, I used it to do something around the house that I'd neglected. Usually, I didn't have time from editing so things were just left undone until I forced myself to do them.

As for neglecting the family? Yes, I'm accused of that. But it's not really neglect. I just stopped doting on them. They don't want to go on a picnic with me---they just want me to cook and clean and wait on them hand and foot. So I don't really stress over that one too much.

I have been stressing over my hair, though. And today is the day. I've been sick for a week with a sinus infection and have decided my hair MUST be colored today. And I'm going into town to pick up a few things for myself. A new pair of sneakers for one thing and a jacket as well. Might stop in for a pedicure. The manicure is something I've learned to do myself and actually grew my own nails for a while there. But then cut them off because they were too long. But last night I sat down and took care of them--going to start their growth again.

Do I look old? Yep. Feel old? Yep. Is it a result of writing? No. It's life. Now that I'm back to writing full time, I feel much better. And if I can get over this sinus infection I think I'll be just perfect---wrinkles and all. Still sitting at my desk, paying attention to the worlds in my head rather than the REAL world--but that's not such a bad place to be. Besides, it's sexy in my head--no wrinkles. LOL

Natalie Dae said...

LMAO @ no wrinkles in your head. Know what you mean.

I like your point about not neglecting, just not doting. Yes, I can see the same in my life, really. I'm not getting up every second to do things for them. Now they're older, I can say, "Hey, do it your bloody self!"

I must dye my hair before the whole of it turns grey, not just the roots.

Wrinkles...mine have definitely got worse since I buckled down this past year. I look like a bleedin' old hag. Lovely.


N.J.Walters said...

Since I don't go to the hairdresser my hair is the same. I get my SIL to hack a few inches off a couple times a year. I've never had my nails done at a salon so that's a moot point.

BUT, I do know what you mean. I wear sweat pants all the time, I've put on about ten pounds and there are days I don't leave the house. If I'm not working, I'm thinking about it or feeling guilty that I should be working.

It's working from home--it's always there waiting for you.

Like you, I've decided it's time to take better care of me. Maybe I won't put out as many books a year, but at least I'll be alive and happy to see them.


Miranda Baker said...

Oh, Dear Gods, you've hit me where I live! I haven't even finished my coffee yet, and I'm feeling weepy. My first novella is coming soon from Samhain and I'm about to sign a contract with Sourcebooks which will require a sequel by August. I have three OTHER part-time jobs, 3 young kids and a horny husband. I was just admiring the purple stripes under my eyes while the coffee was brewing. And, yes, my children accuse me of never joining them on the fun family trips because I stay home to write. It's definitely a question of balance. And energy. I think you're on to something with the "me time." When I find some (and I don't spend it writing) it gives me positive energy. I can't afford the Swedish massage I'd like to have every week, but I think an affordable yoga class would help with the wrinkles - physical, mental and spiritual.

Natalie Dae said...

Hi NJ.

Same here on the hair now. I'm growing it, so I just get Hubby to chop it in a straight line at the back every so often. I trim the sides and fringe myself.

Nails. Maybe you ought to try having them done. They are a serious confidence booster and make you feel so damn feminine. That could be your new "me" time.

I hear you on the tracksuit bottoms. I tell you, if I didn't have to take my smallest to school, I would live in my pyjamas. I spent nearly the entire summer holiday in them. Such a scabby cow, but that's the way it was.

Abigail-Madison Chase said...

I hate to say it but I hated to turning 40. That being said.

I am fighting aging hard.

I have gray which I cover with TONS of black dye. I got a free makeover at Dillards Mac counter and then bought the range of products for cheaper at wal-mart.

I think that I have aged.

I spurge on one guilty pleasure every 3 months a facial at the dermatologist office. It took me a long time to find an inexpensive on but I am glad I did. I have had botox in my forehead.

I don't get my nails done but I get my hair done at the local beauty school and my eyes arched on occasion there too.

Natalie Dae said...

Hi Miranda!

Bloody hell, love. You sound like me. Too much on your plate and not enough time to do it. Pressure, which makes us frown and brings on the wrinkles.

As for family outing days...the last time I agreed to go out on a family bike ride, that saddle KILLED me, if you catch my drift. It was a horrible experience, so now, instead of me moaning while out with everyone that "This hurts!", I stay home and write in peace. I'd prefer them to enjoy their ride without my whinging arse tagging along.

We have the guilt thing going on too. That just sucks, and analyzing everything doesn't help either.

Natalie Dae said...

Hi Abigail!

Oooh, that's a great idea about the hair school. It would cost me less to travel to the college where they would practise on my hair (oh God, could I do that, though?) than it would for the cost of a hair cut. Also, I've been tempted to be a hair guinea pig at the local salon. Again, though, I'd cringe if they messed it up...

Try the nail thing!

As for botox...if I had the spare cash I'd do it. I'd have a boob job too. And liposuction, and and and...

Shit. I'm going to age badly. Hubby tells me to just accept it, that he'll love me, wrinkles and all. But *I* won't love me.

Hmm. I guess you could say I AM vain. And I didn't think I really was. This discussion has opened my eyes about myself!


Molly Daniels said...

Oh jeez...where to start?

Hair: I try to get it cut and styled at least once a year; twice if I'm lucky.

Nails: A non-issue. Biting my nails is my 'one bad habit I'm allowed to have'...that's my story and I'm sticking to it:)

I have to get dressed/shower every day because 1) I work 4 days a week in a bookstore, so HAVE to look nice and 2) I don't feel productive if I'm still in the jammies at noon.

Feeling old: I'm noticing aches and pains I didn't have this time last year, specifically in my right knee. Don't know if it's the fact I spend more time on my feet or if I've somehow managed to injure it somewhere down the line. And since I've been diagnosed in the early stages of menapause, I've dealt with the onset of hot flashes, which both humor and drive my hubby crazy.

Natalie Dae said...

Hi Molly!

Yep, I have to dress to take my little one to school, but if I didn't...I'd be in my jammies. I spend the weekend in them if we're not going out anywhere. I'm so gross.

Oh, aches and pains, my love. I hear you on that too.

And what's with the bones clicking? What the hell's that all about, eh?

Anonymous said...

Hi ladies,

This is an interesting post.

Wash?? Yes, I do....hehe!!! But what a waste of time!!!

Actually, I shower each day. I go to work, meet people and need to at least smell nice. I used ot wear makeup, but have dropped that. But a little on the eyes would do wonders for me, I'm just too lazy.

I dye my hair and I try to have some pamper time here at home every Sunday. Nice long soak, hair wash and conditioned, body creamed and nails done. Some Sundays it doesn't work.

Apart from working duting the week, I have a large family. Thank God for the hubby who does most of the laundry and cooking and shopping and some cleaning.

in Germany

Natalie Dae said...

Ah, my dear Val. It sounds like you have it all worked out. I may try your Sunday ritual myself. It's just a case of being able to tear myself away from my WIP.

Aggghhh! I'm already having plapitations at the thought!

desitheblonde said...

hi well when i do my mail i am going to school and the hair i lost all of mine so it not grown back
why cancer suck huh i wish for it backl long and thick i love the girls on here the pic are great

Anne Rainey said...

I'm going to 43 nex month and you bet I'm fighting aging! All the way, baby! LOL

Jaime Samms said...

Yesterday was my...wait for it...40th birthday. I am officially 40 years old. O.O Still trying to figure out when that happened, because that's over the hill, and honestly, I don't remember the climb. Not that it's been all smooth sailing, but I've had a good life so far, and I really don't feel at all like I'm on the way down. Not even a little bit.

People never believe me when I tell them my age. Maybe I don't act it. I don't have a full time job, car and all the bells and whistles of every other dance/ski hill mom I know.

Maybe I don't look it either. Let me tell you how grey much pink hair dye can cover :)

As for washing, dressing and coming out of my self-imposed writing exile, I try to do all those things on a fairly regular basis :) Almost daily, in fact. But I guess since we home school and hubs is the primary, at home care giver, our situation is different than most. I think - hope - I give them all enough face time.

Natalie Dae said...

Hi desi!

I'm so sorry to hear about your illness and hair loss. I really hope your hair grows back, love.


Natalie Dae said...

Anne...Fight, fight, fight!


Natalie Dae said...

Good for you, Jaime. I've always thought you had it all covered anyway.

40. You know, I'm looking forward to mine. I don't see it as getting over the hill, but the start of being a little freer, if you get me. Living a bit more. I will admit to HATING turning 30. It seemed so...frightening. I cried all day hahahaha.

Madison Scott said...

I have been feeling old lately. I'm actually quite freaked out about my next birthday. I KNOW technically I'm not old, but I feel it so that's all that matters. LOL. I never really pamper or treat myself. The only thing I buy for myself are books. I've gained weight so don't dress how I'd like to. I think mine has nothing to do with writing, but just me. LOL

Jaime Samms said...

I have things all covered? *looks around to make sure you're talking to the right Jaime* lol.

I have a support system in the form of a husband who covers me. That's how it works for me.

As for being 40, well. I really don't feel it at all, so it isn't that big a deal.

Natalie Dae said...

Madison...I tell you, some days I wish I could win the lottery, because I know damn well a pamper session and a clothes shopping trip would work wonders for my self-esteem.

I know what you mean about feeling old but not looking it. Last night I decided to act like a child, just let all the responsibility go, and I lay on my back on the sofa, arms and legs up in the air, and waggled them all as though I was a dying fly. Hubby looked at me as though I was mental, but smiled, and my youngest thought it was hilarious.

It was a shame because in my youngest's face I saw her light up and think: Hey, the old mummy is back.

I felt awful for having been so tired and whatnot lately.

Natalie Dae said...

Jaime...yep, you've got it all sorted, I think.


Jaime Samms said...

"Jaime...yep, you've got it all sorted"

Hey, you wanna say that in front of my mother?!?!? lol! Maybe she'll believe you. Ha!

Natalie Dae said...


No thanks. Just by you saying that she sounds scary. LOL


susan said...

Come on gals..stop thinking old!!! I am 64 years old and wear no make up and my nails are not done. It's not the outside look that counts it is the inside part that shows out to everyone else. I work in the public and have been told many times I do not have the right to be retired and working part time because I am not old enough. They are shocked when I tell them my age. One: I do not act my age because I do not feel my age. How are you to feel at 64? I love to joke around and have fun and those things requires no age limits. I also do something that is forbidden..I wash my face with soap. I always had and I have never had any breakouts. I refuse to think of my age as it is just a number on paper BUT if you don't write don't see it in print. ha ha susan L.

Natalie Dae said...


I wash my face with soap too. Hmm, maybe that's the secret to looking younger, eh?

Maybe we're all confusing feeling old with feeling tired?


C. Zampa said...

Wash? Well, at least I do that! LOL.

I don't live near my family and,until we had a sickness in our midst, I really never felt I neglected them. My daughter and son-in-law were seldom in one place long enough to be able to neglect them. lol.

But I think I do neglect myself. On my birthday, my daughter takes me for the 'mom and daughter' nail thing, and I do know that pampered feeling.

I don't pamper myself much, though, and seldom shop anymore like I used to for clothes and just personal goodies.

Is it the writing? I'm afraid so, now that you mention it.

Judith Leger said...

Vain? I was 44 and looked like I was 25. I dressed in coordinated underwear to match my dressed. I was thin, wore makeup to accentuate my beauty and kept my hair color a beautiful blonde. My nails were always dones.

Then my father fell 14 feet and broke his neck and back, severing his spinal. I came to realize that my Daddy loved me for me and not for what I looked like. I stayed by his side, neglecting my family until he passed away 4 months later.

Once he was gone, I thought that I needed to get back on track to who I was again. You know, since like kinda sorta returned to normal. Then I realized, I spent so much time on the outside of me that this was all people really saw. So I stopped wearing makeup and watching what I ate. Yes, I gained weight and let my gray hair grow out. And I started to write again. You see, my Daddy's death made me realize I'd never did what I truly dreamed of doing--to write a book and have it published.

It took me awhile but you know, I'm happy to be me and not a pretty little Barbie doll like person.

Natalie Dae said...

Hiya CZ!

Yes, being good to yourself does go by the wayside at times, and your situation is one where I wouldn't give a monkey's what I looked like, to be honest. (Monkey's is a British, polite way of saying shit LMAO)

I think as we get older we realise the personal goodies aren't what it's all about. I prefer spending money on other people, but every once in a while I wish I had the courage to spend it on myself without feeling guilty.


Natalie Dae said...

Hi Judith!

You make a very good point there. Living and doing what makes you feel good inside is what really matters when you get right down to it. When something terrible happens, it brings everything into perspective.