Wade through the first few Britcentric paragraphs of this and you'll get to some interesting interviews with middle aged women about the ageing process. There's a barely veiled hysteria about it all which I both recognise within myself and at the same time feel quite removed from.
I stopped dying my hair about three (or was it four?) years ago and going visibly grey, while on one level appalling, was also liberating. Certainly I often look at photos of myself and wish I didn't look this way - I'm jealous of the few 50+ women I know who haven't gone grey (my mother was one of them but unfortunately I didn't inherit that from her). I wish I didn't have varicose veins and spider veins and that my cheeks weren't beginning to droop.
But even though I wish I looked different, I just don't have the time or mental or financial resources to put into effecting such a change. And mostly, I don't want to deny that I am the age I am because to deny that would be to deny the life I've lived.
I'm glad I had a bush-roaming childhood. I'm incredibly glad I came of age in time for consciousness raising groups and communes and non-monogamy and gay lib. Being back at university after 30 years, I see that my mid-70s generation had a hell of a lot going for us - we were well informed and very engaged with the world around us. I don't get that impression from the contemporary crop of students.
When I overhear 'water-cooler' conversation among the 20somethings at work and compare it to what I was doing in my 20s, I know which I'd choose (mine!) (That's the opposite of the writer of this 'age-orexic' article and perhaps explains her hysteria).
I don't feel as if life is all over, which is what seems to be implied in this fear-of-fifty. I still feel as if the future holds options which I might not have even thought of yet. I'm still learning, I'm still meeting people and making new friends.
Fifty both means something and yet is just a number.
Later: David Tiley, who's six years older than me, also has thoughts on the ageing process, from the point of view of weight.