As a young woman in an ever image conscious London, the desire to remain looking youthful is often a consideration. Thankfully I do not have the money to let it become a full-blown obsession and go and buy all the anti-ageing, collagen boosting products out there. Alright, I might have some coconut oil on my dressing table and I might be currently trying out this super-food hype and patting it around my eyes, but hey, we all have our vices. If I find it makes no difference (which so far on my almost 24 year old skin, there is none – I don’t know what I’m expecting to happen) then I can use the stuff in cooking as a low fat alternative to oil. So there!
But there’s the rub – I am conscious of ageing. We’re all scared of change in different ways and, no matter where I live or what clothes I buy or what lap top I own, myself, me, will always be the oldest thing I have to my name. So I’m going to take care of me.
There’s a lot of chaff about anti-ageing, but I realised something last week – as I slunk back a few years into my university-self one evening – that physically ageing is inevitable, but emotionally, mentally, we don’t necessarily ever have to be old.
I realised this when, whilst with friends, I took one of my girl buddies by the hand, led her to my room and sat her down on my bed… Don’t worry mother, this is all perfectly friendly… I shut the door quietly, hoping not to let my other friends and house mates know that I was having a secret conversation that no-one else could hear for fear of… well, I don’t know… for fear of untimely romantic revelation. That’s right. I pulled her aside to talk about boys! Well, one in particular. I felt like a teenager again – relaying the sweet stories and the feeling of the initial excitement of those butterflies you get in your stomach. We laughed and giggled and I felt young and sprightly.
Now… I know… I’m only 23 and 11 months, I’m hardly shopping for a zimmer frame yet. But there can still be that feeling of a youth having gone when people around you are getting married and having babies, and those who aren’t are getting stuck into their careers. It can make you feel old and say, Gosh, how did I get to 23 and all this seriousness. I know my mother often says to us, Gosh, how do I have two grown up girls? Well, sometimes it’s nice not to feel grown up and not to feel the looming shadow of responsibility following out around. And for this, I prescribe the anti-ageing quality of friends.
Just a few weeks ago I found myself dressed in a polar bear onesie (not my own, retract your judging) sat between my two best friends in their lemur and chipmunk onesies (these were theirs, judge away, or be jealous, they were spectacular!). Then, of an evening, I might find myself with a friend in a bar we frequent, gossiping away about, you got it, boys, and thinking back to the great times we have had together.
I will age. I’m fine with that. I had better be anyway because it’s simply an inevitability. If I spend more time smiling than frowning then I will have laughter lines rather than crows feet and a heavy brow. Spending time with friends is surely the best way to stay young, because having youth means the ability and the hunger to enjoy life. Even if one day my knees don’t work (I’m already prepared to blame my father for that) then I will have my friends with whom to laugh, to relive the younger years, and to gossip about things which don’t actually matter at all…