Everytime I get my hair cut, which isn't often, I realise how I'm aging. When I look at myself in the mirror at home I don't smile. I look blank and wrinkle-free. When I smile at the hairdresser's I see all the wrinkles of 45 years of smiling. I don't dye my hair - I couldn't be bothered, and, maybe, I don't want to hang around too long at the hairdressers, but I do have props to help keep me together now that I'm aging.
I have a rubber ring called Robbie, that I sit on at the computer. That's because I fractured my coccyx while birthing my now eight year old. It was a quick delivery (which I earned after the long labour of the previous child) and apparently the damage was done because the midwife didn't catch the baby in time. Who knew?
I also have one of those elastic bandages that velcro around my lower back. For when I sit too long without Robbie.
I wear a splint on my top teeth when I go to bed. It isn't attractive, no, and almost impossible to talk whilst wearing it. I have it because a) my jaw was clicking when I spoke and b) to stop me from grinding and cracking my teeth. After root canal therapy (therapy, ha ha), having a titanium implant (which means a series of operations - and the implant goes up to my apparently low sinus cavity - not fun), and having crowns, I want to protect the teeth I have.
I have reading glasses which I hardly ever wear. I still feel a bit silly wearing them. I got my eyes tested because my youngest child looked smudgier than the previous two. My mother suggested I just keep her at arms' length. At least I didn't take my daughter to the doctor saying 'I think there is something wrong with her - she's smudgy'. I know I need them because I think of them when I try to shave my armpits in the shower and can't see what I'm supposed to be doing.
And now I'm back at the gym. Partly because I like to fit into my summer dresses, and middle aged spread is real. But mostly because I want to be able to move when I'm older. Walking to and from school and hanging out washing does not constitute an exercise regime. I don't really need to be fit, but I do need for my muscles to not seize up. And I'm short. I can't afford a stoop.
I bring ear plugs to the gym because I have hearing damage. I think everyone in the western world has hearing damage. I don't have an ipod, and haven't been to live gigs much of late, but did enough gig-going in my youth to damage my hearing. Loud noises are now painful. Movies, live venues, children's dance concerts, gyms - all too loud for me. Ear plugs are my friends.
As are those spots at the gym that aren't in front of the mirrors.