It's not the steady creep of wrinkles across my face - though heaven knows, that's insulting enough. I always prided myself on my youthful complexion and the lack of grey in my hair. I even had the audicity to tell Husband once that, like Catherine Deneuve, I had chosen my face over my bottom, which was why I was never going to have the figure of an 18 year old again. (He laughed at me, by the way. Crushing.) Recently though those grey hairs and pesky laugh lines have started to make themselves known at unexpected moments. I try not to see them - that's how you cope, isn't it, with getting older - only looking in the same mirror in the same way whenever I can help it, usually from a sideways angle with my eyes half-closed, but sometimes I find myself in unfamiliar bathrooms with unflattering lighting and ouch! Where the hell did THEY come from?
But no, it's not the wrinkles. Or the few pounds round my waist that won't shift; they've been there as long as I can remember. As far back as my mid-twenties I was using that old 'waist not, want not' line to myself when jeans I was trying on would flap around my bum but not do up across my tummy...
No, what finally brought it home to me tonight were two things. Firstly, I foolishly turned on The Brits on tv, and then actually watched it for a short while as they announced the contenders for Best International Group. Reader, dear Reader, have I been asleep for the last year? Who on earth are The Fleet Foxes, Elbow, and MGMT? (Actually, I did know the name Elbow, but I couldn't pick them out in a line-up...). And did you know ACDC are still out there? The only groups I would have expected to see nominated were The Killers and The Kings of Leon (and shamefully, I first heard of that last lot when I read about them in Mrs Moneypenny's weekly column in the Weekend FT).
I am uncool indeed.
So what did I do then? Did I force myself to sit through the rest of the show in the hope I could pick up something of the zeitgeist and find out who these bands were? Well, I tried, really I tried. But then Take That appeared out of the sky wearing one of the most ridiculous clarke kent glasses and t-shirt combos I had ever seen, and I started muttering under my breath about how they should know better. 'Mutter, grumble, really, they are 4 family guys, mutter, grumble, with one noteable exception, obviously, great tune, mutter, grumble, but what do they think they are doing, channeling Team Man at C&A on a space-ship?'
But even this attack of the middle-aged mutters wasn't the full stop in the 'I am officially Old' realisation. No, that was when I gave up on the Brits in disgust at my own chuntering, and switched over for some ultimate mid-life escapism on Channel 4 with Kevin and Grand Designs*. And then found myself animatedly discussing the merits of triple glazed windows, passive housing, and solar power with my parents once it had finished.
Rock and roll, baby, rock and roll...
* Those of you who are wondering what Grand Designs is, no link I'm afraid as I'm at my parents' and apparently they too are cooler than I am; they only have Macs in the house and I am too out of touch to know how to use them properly. Dammit. (And whilst we're at it, where is the hash key? Somebody?)