Thursday, March 11, 2010

Getting Older

I love reading Mia Freedman's column in the Herald On Sunday and last week she just seemed to strike a note that hit home with me. And goddamn, I thought this piece was sooooo telling that I've borrowed it for y'all to read, with thanks to Mia Freedman (who is fabulous - check out

So much is written and debated about young women and body image but nobody tells you it’s a lifelong issue. And for many women, it is, varying in intensity and changing along with your body, even though it’s invariably more connected to where your head is at.
On Australia Day I went to an excellent BBQ at a friend’s house. There were dozens of families with kids ranging from newborns to teenagers. As the temperature soared, the big kids hit the pool. So did many of the littlies – chaperoned by their Dads who eagerly stripped down to their boardies.
Meanwhile, all the mums stayed fully clothed. Hot and clothed. So did all the women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s without kids, even though it couldn’t have been a more perfect day for a dip and instructions to bring your swimmers were issued with the invitation.
I’ve seen this happen a million times in social situations around water. The dads will take the kids swimming, the mums stay on the sidelines. Is this reticence due to (a) Self-consciousness? (b) Fear of being judged for how your body holds up in a swimsuit? or (c) Not wanting to get your hair wet?The majority of the time, for the majority of women, I’m going to go with the combo of (a) and (b).
At this particular BBQ, I was solo and ensconced in my trusty Jets one-piece, didn’t hesitate to jump in the water with my kids. For a while, it was just me and kids and dads.
Eventually, another mother joined me, swimming over to confide: “I’m so glad you went in. I was dying to swim but women never do at these things.”
As we agreed it was a shame that so many gorgeous women were benching themselves around the pool instead of diving in, she said something very wise which has stayed with me ever since: “I keep telling my 40-year-old girlfriends that our bodies aren’t going to get any better than they are now. When we look back at 50, we’re going to think we looked hot at 40. So we may as well make them most of it. At 20 we thought our bodies weren’t good enough, same with 30. And every decade you wonder why they hell you wasted time worrying instead of just embracing it. So I’ve decided I don’t want to look back in another ten years and curse myself for not wearing a swimsuit more often.”
I thought this was so sage.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a deep breath and wore a short dress. I never do this. I’m not even sure when I stopped showing my legs. It just happened. But inspired by my conversation with my new swimming friend, I thought ‘stuff it. World? Here are my legs.’ Carpe Diem.

How fabulous and true is that. Now is the time girls.

Maybe we were so strung out on what we didn't have in earlier years that we didn't make the most of what we did have (for me that is definitely a decent old set of BOOBS, that I no longer own). Now is the time to go, ok, it may not be perfect but here it bloody well is.

And it's not just about bodies, it's everything. the clock seems to be racing. now is the time to get out amongst it, to grab life and to run with it, not jog.

I have just done my first triathlon in 20 years. Seriously. And for me it was a revelation. Because even though I had a shocking swim (visualise a whole lot of women swimming ahead of you, then an empty lake and a support crew on a surf ski beside you - well that was me), a bike that was 15 years old with rust and a run on legs of lead, I absolutely loved it and want to do more. Even though I aspire to it, I doubt I'll be a massive talent, in fact I'll take a finish in the top half of the field. Of my age group.

I figured though, it's a choice, I either do these events averagely or I don't do them, because I'm concerned and embarrassed that I'll only do them averagely.

Now is the time.


  1. Can't imagine you doing anything averagely my love - your best isn't average after all! Good on you. You look like a pro!

  2. Love Mia's post too. Congrats on completing triathlon. I am with you we should just embrace ourselves as we bloody well are! After all the grass isn't greener on the other side, it's greener where we water it!! Let us grab our hoses I say!