Moments

I had a bit of a ‘moment’ on Friday morning, as I was driving Matty to the station. I’d woken up feeling irritated, sort of grumpy, a bit dissatisfied like when you’re really, really hungry and the only thing that will suffice is a burger and chips, so you go to a restaurant, and when your order comes, it turns out it’s nouvelle cuisine and your burger is  ‘deconstructed’: a few crumbs of dehydrated bread, a sliver of wagyu, a microscopic cube of pickle, and a light sprinkle of microherbs atop an artful smudge of sauce.


“I feel like I haven’t achieved anything,” I said to Matty.

Matty reminded me that indeed I had achieved things – not least in the last seven months: birthed a baby and written and edited not one but two magazines.

I wrote and edited this. The Edition, issue 1.

But that wasn’t quite what I meant. I’m not discounting the fact that I’ve managed to create a gorgeous, flame-haired, mini-human whom I love ferociously, or, that frequently, after putting mini-human to bed at 7pm I work happily on aforementioned magazine until midnight or 1am.

I gave birth to this. Marnie.

It’s more a feeling that I don’t have enough space, at the moment. Space to do the things I’d do if I had more time for myself: regularly updating my blog, for example, or painting again once in a while, or practising the piano so I don’t lose my very limited repertoire completely. I have so many ideas for the children’s books I want to write and illustrate and the jewellery I want to make and the sculptures I want to create – but there’s just no space. Not an inch.

I drew this. ‘Horse on Motorbike’, charcoal on paper

I feel overwhelmed by all the things I need to do: I have so many phone calls to make, to friends I’ve neglected as weeks have turned into months; there are a million clothes to fold and put away, but no matter how much I do, the mountain of mess gets bigger, not smaller. I’m feeling deafened by so much social media screaming for attention: the Instagram narcissists vying for likes, the Facebook braggers and the oh-my-god-you-have-to-click-on-this-or-life-won’t-be-worth-living clickbaits. (I try not to click! But I do, and then I fall headfirst into a meaningless internet vortex).

I painted this. ‘Tutti after chemo’, acrylic on canvas.

I’m exhausted. So exhausted. The baby never sleeps, and when she does, it’s in fits and starts. An hour here. Forty minutes there. She wants to be attached to me all the time. I’ve become a half-adult half-baby hybrid. Exhausted. Exhausted.

Even so, a very wise and dear friend recently reminded me that although life with a small baby can be tough, these are the years I’ll look back on as some of the most beautiful of my life. Just like the pain of childbirth, I’ll forget the crosseyed-with-tiredness delirium and the feeling of being suffocated by unfulfilled ambition.

Instead, I’ll remember how precious it was to have a baby yet unable to speak but so hilariously expressive. Who squeals with arm-flapping excitement when I walk into the room. Who has the juiciest, most kissable cheeks and hands you can’t help but squeeze; so small and pudgy, with dimples where her knuckles should be. I’ll wish I could hold her – as I do now – as her eyes flutter shut and she nuzzles into me like the sweetest, warmest, milk-drunk koala. Even for a moment. You see, the thing about moments is that they’re fleeting. They slip from our grasp and tick-tock away no matter how hard we try to hold onto them. So I know what I have to do. I have to lower my expectations of myself. I have to put down my mobile phone.  I have to be in the moment with my sweet little baby and remember that one day I’ll look back and wish I could be exactly where I am now. Right here.

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So… my baby is due today…

… but she’s under strict instructions to continue baking, because Tutti and I are going to the preview screening of Advanced Style, the movie named after both the inspirational blog and subsequent book by Ari Seth Cohen.

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I am so excited to see this film, not least because I have so much respect for Ari’s work. In this age where there’s such fixation on youth, it’s so refreshing to see age portrayed in such a fun, vibrant and vital way – which is exactly how it should be.

The platform Ari has given to wonderful women over 60 is nothing short of inspired. After all, you can bet they have more wisdom, style and sass than most women half their age. There’s plenty we could learn about living and loving life from the ladies of Advanced Style.

This is one movie you HAVE to see. In cinemas around Australia from October 2.

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My weekend with Ari Seth Cohen

There’s no denying that social media has helped the world become a whole lot smaller. You can reminisce with strangers, forge virtual, international friendships, connect with anyone no matter how seemingly unattainable or powerful or famous they are.

And so it was, that somehow, I made contact with the inspirational photographer, author and blogger Ari Seth Cohen, whose blog, Advanced Style documents the stylish outfits worn by women over 60, for whom the street is their catwalk.

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Tutti, Ari and Me in Paddington. Photo by instagram.com/pelle4scarpe

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On ageing…

I can’t stand it when people say, “She looks so amazing… for her age.” After all, what does age even look like? These days, 50 is young. So is 60 – even 70. All you need is a love of life: a sense of wonder and adventure; a little dash of style; a wicked sense of humour.

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Tutti, 64 and The Guru, 66

Once, 60 might have worn a faded pink dressing gown, and ‘tsked’ at the television while hunched over the ironing, before dinner at 5 and bed at 7 (maybe some still do – it’s no crime after all). But perceptions have changed. People have changed. Sixty can be as vibrant as any 30. Sometimes more so. I know people my age who might as well have been 100. But even saying that seems insulting to 100-year-olds who still live life with vigour.

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Tutti at 62

I feel sad when I hear women talk about turning 40, or 50 and feeling invisible. Just because you might have a few more lines, or because your mid-section doesn’t snap back into shape after a doughnut binge like it used to, or because your your backside is exponentially more wobbly, or your hair’s going grey, it’s no excuse for allowing yourself to fade into obscurity. There’s no need to wave goodbye to your identity amidst the bland sea of perky pouters, fresh out of school, in their uniform, bum-skimming bodycons and tragic stilettos that have them clip-clopping down the street with all the elegance of drunken giraffes.

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Tutti, 64

I once wrote a ‘manifesto’ of sorts for Prevention (the health magazine for women 40+, where I’m the features editor) and it pretty much sums up my sentiments (edited for context, below):

No one really wants to get ‘old’, but if we can, quite simply, live our best lives, then we have rendered age irrelevant. It’s not about stopping the clock, or turning it back – it’s about moving forward, buoyed by life’s many possibilities and the inevitable wisdom we pick up along the way. 

Ageing is inevitable: there will always be that day when you find another grey hair, or your knees start to creak or you realise your eyes are suddenly more prone to crow’s feet than sparrows’. But if people can be inspired to embrace every aspect of their lives with vibrancy, humour – and youth (no matter how many candles on their birthday cakes), that in itself is setting a brilliant example for future generations to aspire to. After all, ageing ‘youthfully’, isn’t just an ideal – it can be a reality.
 
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Tutti and The Guru frolicking in the garden

Of course, I’m lucky to have parents like Tutti and the Guru as role models, doing their darnedest to age disgracefully, with more colour and layers of eccentricity year-on-year, but if you need a dash more inspiration, check out photographer Ari Seth Cohen’s blog Advanced Style.

There’s something about those fearless, fashionable, savvy New Yorkers that makes you want to leap out of your easy-chair, fist pump the air triumphantly, and live every day that passes with even more fabulousness than the last.

 

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