That awkward moment when you realize you're old. And crispy.

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Something dreadful happened to me in bed this morning. 

I woke up, turned over and stretched – like I always do. That’s when it occurred… A pain shot from my right ear, down my neck and straight through to my shoulder blade.

Even now, after having downed a painkiller (or two), I still can’t turn my head more than an inch, or look down at my feet without excruciating twinges of epic proportions. It’s the latest in a series of events, which have led me to believe that I might be getting older.

Last month, I turned the age that Meg Ryan's character was dreading in When Harry Met Sally. To celebrate my big day, the family and I went to the city for a hair appointment, a lunch and a visit to the bookstore. Geoff took the girl to go and ride an escalator, while at the salon, Jan and I waited our turns.

My stylist - busy with another client – glanced over at me and called his assistant over. I couldn't help but overhear their conversation.

My stylist: Can you give Andrea a “treatment”.

The assistant: Which one is Andrea?

My stylist: The one who needs a "treatment”.

She came and scanned the handful of clients in the waiting area. “Andrea”, she said (her gaze fixed on my head), “can you come with me please?

Evidently, I was looking crispy or brittle or just plain dried out.

Either way, it gave me a complex. Why now, after eight years, did my stylist think I needed “a treatment”?

Later that day, as I was inspecting my face in the mirror, I noticed something alarming. What in holy hell had happened to my eyes?  I looked like a toddler art project where tiny raisins had been stuck into playdoh. Dried up, wrinkled play doh.

I’m not sure when I became old. I used to be so young. I suppose my first clue should have been when I was referred to as a “geriatric mother” when I became pregnant with my daughter. I was only 36. Mind you, by the time I gave birth, I did feel like a crusty old sod  – what with the walker and the cane. But I digress.

The point is - I’m old. It’s happened and there’s no turning back.

Not that I didn't anticipate the arrival of this day. Through the years, I’ve purchased various skincare products designed to stave off creases and as a result I have a stash that rivals Sephora. But, I’ve never actually used any of it - beyond removing the lids and sniffing.

However, in light of recent events, it occurred to me that I had better start applying a few concoctions to my face. And fast. But then I came across the book, “There’s Lead in My Lipstick” where I discovered that cosmetics companies are out to kill us all.

So instead, I’m ready to learn from the kids who have fresh complexions and soft hair  - y’know, the sort of stuff that we elderly gals so desperately try to emulate. Their secrets are simple and cheap. Don’t wear makeup, eschew deodorant, stay clear of hair care products and bathe only on rare occasions. And, most importantly, act like you know it all.

The next 10 years ought to be interesting.

No, really.

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