Aging Disgracefully

Age Warning Header
Pam Birthday

It was my birthday on Wednesday, I turned fifty-three (feel free to send gifts.) I used to feel a bit awkward mentioning my age. Like why wasn’t I MORE MATURE, why, as a fifty-something year old woman did I spend so much time on social media or taking selfies with famous authors at book launches?

Why wasn’t I sitting quietly in the corner, with my knitting preparing to be a granny? (The answer to that is 1. I can’t knit and 2. Both kids have said they’re not providing us with grandkids).

Post-forty women are sort of supposed to just…I dunno…fade into the background. Sit quietly somewhere, fanning themselves because of the hot flushes and tweezing the hairs out of their chins (but seriously, what is it with the chin hairs??)

They shouldn’t be so OUT THERE.

In the past (like in 2019), whenever I was asked how old I was, I would sort of mutter my age apologetically, in a kind of I’m sorry that as a woman I am so old. After all we are led to believe that women should be young, thin and beautiful and if they can’t be that, they should STFU.

Shona Ferguson with his beautiful wife Connie
Shona Ferguson with his beautiful wife, Connie
Chris Blomkamp
Chris Blomkamp

Then Covid happened and the deaths of friends and colleagues made me think seriously about age and aging. FYI…I lost another two colleagues last week: actor and producer Shona Ferguson, who appeared on Muvhango back in 2006 and with whom I worked on the first couple of seasons of Rockville and Chris Blomkamp whom I worked with on Generations. Shona was 47 and Chris was 44. Two extremely talented individuals who had so much left to give – both gone, just like that.

They – and so many others – did not get a chance to get properly OLD. What even is properly old? 60? My sister who looks like a million bucks aged 62 would probably disagree. 80? Why do we have to label people as being old? Or maybe we need to change our perception of the word. Maybe OLD needs to be a badge of honour. Like, I was so damn lucky to survive covid and get OLD.

Age - My amazing sister...
My amazing sister…

Another thing I can’t stand is she looks so good for her age. Let’s stop with that nonsonso. She looks so good is a complete sentence. My friends and I have endless chats about whether to do botox, have fillers, a face-lift etc…Personally, I don’t like extreme plastic surgery, I think Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan and Courtney Cox would look better without it. But guess what? It’s none of my damn business what they do with their faces. Also, I get why they feel the need to have more than the odd nip and tuck, because Hollywood in particular does not have much use for women over 40 (the only parts available are as wives to the leading men of the film aged 70+. Lines an optional extra).

Also, where do we draw the line? If we wear make-up or do laser hair removal, why shouldn’t some one else inject poison into their foreheads or plump their lips full of the fat sucked from dead people (I’m exaggerating. I just like the way fat from dead people sounds)? It really is a personal choice. However, I do have to admit that it does make me sad when I see people going to extreme measures to hang on to their youth. I wish we lived in a society where women in particular didn’t feel like they have to do shit to their faces to remain relevant or be considered attractive.


Which brings me to my book recommendations for this week. I’ve been reading Justine Bateman’s book Face: One square foot of skin. It’s a collection of essays that examines why an aging women’s face is so offensive to everyone, and why it needs to be fixed. I love this idea that actually our faces are fine and we can leave them be. I’ve taken that attitude with my hair, it’s grey and I’m not dyeing it, and I kinda feel the same about my face. But who knows? Perhaps in five or ten years I might change my mind.

I reserve the right to go blonde and have all the fat sucked out of my ass and injected into my boobs and my face if I so wish. Watch this space.

The Imposter

This week I also read The Imposter by Anna Wharton. A thriller that made me feel squirmy and uncomfortable because I kept feeling like the protag was going to be found out. But I enjoyed the way the author explored the heartbreak of parents whose kids go missing and I thought it had a very fresh twist at the end.

TV recommendations: I started watching Devilsdorp. Wowza…there’s been some twisted shit going down in Krugersdorp!! Creepy AF, and heartbreaking for the victims and their families. It’s on Showmax and it’s a must-watch for true-crime fans.

And in bookish news, I had the best early birthday present EVAH. I’ve spoken before about the group novel that we wrote during lockdown…well, we just got a fabulous publishing deal with Pan Macmillan SA. The book is about friendship and it’s a funny and uplifting read, it’ll be out in the first quarter of 2022 – don’t worry, you don’t have to put a reminder in your phone, I will be reminding you about it in this very blog WITH MONOTONOUS REGULARITY. My co-authors are faves, Amy Heydenrych, Gail Schimmel and Qarnita Loxton and I’m not exaggerating when I say writing this book with my three hilarious and extremely talented co-authors helped keep me sane-ish over the last year and a half.

Signing our publishing contract
Signing our publishing contract

Final thought: after what I have been through, including getting Covid for Christmas I am BEYOND ECSTATIC to be fifty-three. I do not know why I got to survive when so many others didn’t, but I can promise you something, I will NEVER apologise for my age again.

Happy reading, Happy Women’s Day and GO AND GET JABBED!! Love to you all xxxx