Even though I still feel twenty five, there are horribly cliched signs that I really am an 'older woman'. Slowly but surely, insidiously and sneakily, I'm deteriorating. There are the usual markers of decrepitude of course: wrinkles - including some bizarre trench-like ones on my chest (how? why? whose are they?); the increasing need to hold books further and further away before the letters come into focus (but I don't need glasses yet - I really don't); random aches, pains and stiffness, including difficulty getting up after sitting down for too long; and an inability to do things like cartwheels or headstands without doing my back in/straining some body part.
However, the one sign of age I never bargained for quite so early on, was increasing idiocy. I've always been bit of a daydreamer - which sounds more romantic than it actually is (once I jumped into a swimming pool fully clothed for no apparent reason other than my mind was somewhere else). But my mind has always been pretty sharp and I've always fancied that I had a pretty good memory - capable of remembering events, names, phrases from way back, able to pick up a tune, grasp a complicated plot, do a difficult crossword.
For a while now, I've noticed a few minor cracks in my mental faculties. I do the usual things - calling my child by my sister's /husband's/random relative's name etc and referring to common household objects as thingummyjigs/whatsits. That's standard. But lately these slip-ups have become a little more alarming. A few weeks ago I completely forgot to attend a school play even though I had actually written it down (bad mummy - bad,bad mummy) and just yesterday I was sure that the lyrics to a song I had been singing in choir only a week ago with my daughter were 'Pick me up Buttercup' - so sure that to prove my point to her, I looked it up on the internet. There it was in plain print: 'Build me up...' Of course, she was right.
I remember being exasperated and baffled by the inadequacy of adults in this respect. My friend's mum drove us mad by repeatedly singing 'Shaking all over' wrong; wasn't she listening to the same song as us?? And my mum used to irritate me too by getting phrases wrong - we thought deliberately (the most recent wrong-phrase she used was 'eye-cake' instead of 'eye candy'). I would correct her with the utmost scorn, but now I'm having it thrown right back by my own children.
Maybe this is what it is to be truly middle-aged: you're still young enough to remember what it was like to be a child, but old enough to finally see what it was like to be your mother. Now...what was it that I was just about to do?