botoxed youth obsession

I’ve never really got the whole botoxed youth obsession that is supposed to drive my generation – because it seems like so much effort. We are supposed to zumba our way through any mid life crisis where our mothers could always turn to Spanish or macramé classes. I grew up when grunge was deliberate (hard to look homeless in most parts of New Zealand in the 80’s lets face it), and feminism was an exercise in purposeful dowdiness in order to prove your true worth. I refuse to buy any perfume with the words ‘youth’, ‘dew’ or ‘eternity’ in it figuring that there is no odour that will eliminate age. If I do buy make up I also refuse to buy anything that erases ‘expression lines’ preferring instead anything with the word ‘wrinkle’ on it. At least there’s a degree of honesty there. My grey hairs I think of as ‘highlights’ and also kid myself that boobs, like godwits will one day fly North again. Unlikely but there you have it. Partly this relaxed attitude towards ageing is not, as I had thought, due to a mature and comprehensive understanding of life cycles and a Buddhist-like acceptance of nature and death – but rather to the completely deluded notion that I am not in fact ageing at all. Everybody else is. I realised my utter shallowness in this respect while flicking through a property magazine lately and noticing a geriatric establishment cleverly posing as some upmarket apartment complex where the aged frolicked in heated pools and picked each other up over bridge. I noted wryly that at some stage I’d have to think about looking after Mum and Dad and wondered if such places would allow Dad somewhere to park his Fergie tractor and, remembering that he has been known in many of my former flats as either ‘Agent Orange’ or ‘The Round-Up Fairy’, whether or not the carefully landscaped grounds of wherever he ended up would survive his chemical warfare efforts. I also noted that the real places where we park our elderly never ever match up to the brochures. I have yet to see a brochure where completely unqualified, underpaid and over worked staff, park a distinguished old man next to a noisy industrial washing machine and serve him white mushy food on an unclean white plate and then complain that he doesn’t eat anything. Such a situation forced a kidnapping of my late grandfather – something that was deemed ‘highly inappropriate and ill advised’ by the ward sister because he had become increasingly immobile and because I had a truck and only my girl as a helper who was only 2 at the time. When I suggested to him that we go for Chinese or Thai – I’ve never seen a Zimmer frame go so fast and to say that he made an excellent impression of leaping into the front seat of the truck would not be an exaggeration. My daughter, getting into the general spirit of things but not really adding to any sense of convivial relations with the frowning ward sister shouted out the window; ‘He’s our Granddad and we’ve got him now so ha ha shame.” Which I thought was funny yet unhelpful – as 2 year olds so often are. It seemed funny staging a geriatric prison break yet somehow completely removed from any sense that I might ever end up somewhere like that in my dotage. Certainly I’m sure none of the brochures had looked like that when Nana and Grandad had booked themselves in there all those years ago. So it was with some horror that I noted on the property magazine that the marvels of this new retirement village were available for those 45 years and over. You have got to be kidding me. That’s 3 years away. I still have a backpack compete with passport, fruit knife and new toothbrush sitting in a cupboard somewhere for when this whole being a bacon-bringing-home Mum and partner gig gets old and I need to resume my wandering ways. Retirement village?! Get me my Zumba knickers and a horse syringe full of botox – I’m going to need to look good when I break out of there.

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