Walking past a poster for Disney’s “Maleficent”, I stopped to look at the evil Queen, noticing how striking she looked. Peering more closely, I spotted Angelina Jolie’s name. And had a sudden realisation, that with just days to go before I turn forty, I’ll never be Angelina Jolie.
I mean, I was never actually going to be Angelina Jolie – I have only half the kids she has and that’s as far as I’m prepared to go, I’m also not almost-married to Brad Pitt, and the last time I performed for an audience, I was doing Karaoke in a bar in Hamburg in 2006.
But still, there was this moment. This slightly surreal wake-up call. An understanding of sorts. An acceptance maybe. The realisation that after years of aspiring towards improvement; it’s time to call it maintenance.
Never consciously, but somewhere subconsciously, I must have always thought I was on an upward trajectory – I was going to tone up, slim down, drink more water, buy a better shampoo, start looking after my nails, change foundation. Taking a critical look at my wardrobe – questioning the floaty top bought two summers ago – beloved at the time, now just looking far too floaty. Putting it away, and making a mental note to go and buy a less floaty top. Something more flattering. Now that I’ve figured out what suits me of course – so much more than two years ago when I clearly hadn’t a clue. Until next year, when the new top will look, well, not quite right. But by then, I’ll really have figured out what suits me, so that’s fine.
And now – this is it, this is me. I’m hurtling towards forty, and really, the only way is down.
I’m definitely not going to grow any taller. My skin on my face is not going to tighten (not by itself anyway). And those annoying silver hairs are not going to lessen. Sometimes I wear the same jeans two days in a row, because they’re just there, and sure what does it matter really.
Wait. Is this the invisible age thing? Am I going to be the woman at the deli counter in the brownish-greyish-blackish clothes that nobody sees? Is it inevitable – do we all end up there? Or maybe the woman at the deli counter was just too damn busy to dress up for a supermarket trip – perhaps she’s buying steak for the dinner party she’s hosting tonight, at which she’ll dazzle her guests with her Chanel-inspired black dress and her witty conversation?
I’m not ready for the invisibility cloak. I’m not hanging up my heels and lipstick yet. But it will be more about maintenance.
So this week I’m going to colour my hair for the first time since putting in Body Shop Henna when I was sixteen. And I’m going to turn 40. And I’m never going to be Angelina Jolie. But that’s just fine.