Three examples your child is a smartarse…

Ok, maybe that title’s a bit misleading. It should probably read three examples of me being a smartarse, when I was a child. There’s no denying that I had chutzpah in bucketloads.

EXHIBIT A:

A letter that seamlessly weaves together love, apology and emotional blackmail

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Dear Mum, Please don’t blame me if I am mean to Sonia. She’s been pretty mean to me and Im upset because you are so sad and crying. I adore you and want you to know I think your wonderful.

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The art of the perfect guilt-trip

By the time I was about 15, I was well-practiced in the art of getting out of trouble (and I was in trouble a LOT. My attitude by then was at an all time high). The secret? Making Tutti laugh. In most cases, laughing made her even more enraged, but it’s very hard to maintain rage when you’re gasping for breath, your upturned mouth betraying your fury.

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How to tie a headscarf, Tutti-style

There’s no denying Tutti has amazing hair. It’s as pure in colour as a unicorn’s mane, defies gravity and grows vertically, like the spikes of a snow-white pineapple. But it’s her headwear that has people turning heads. For as long as she can remember she’s been tying all manner of scarves, donning hats and even in the ’80s used to thread scarves around these weird, padded headbands (see pic below, top left) which she still managed to make look fabulous.

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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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