Thursday, 26 January 2012

Dealing with a case of SAD. Or is it EOF?

It could be the all-pervading gloom and a dose of SAD; it could be a hangover from the festive period. It might be the knowledge that the clock is now ticking on the final year of my forties.

But one way or the other, I have not been myself of late. And the nearest description I can offer is that it has felt like a case of Early Onset Frumpiness.

Is this what women mean when they talk of suddenly feeling invisible as they reach A Certain Age?

At home, I slob around in casual gear – and feel perfectly happy doing so. But elsewhere, I have been feeling distinctly dowdy and dumpy.

After allowing this mood to dominate me for a week or so, I realised that there were things that I could do. Mostly, it was about finding ways of feeling that I was taking back control.

Step one seemed obvious. Ever since getting less than a pound back from a tenner for a single packet of fags at WS Smith at Glasgow Airport in November, my smoking days had been numbered.

I hadn’t set a time frame – it was too frenetic a period to be adding in something like that – and then stocked up in France on the basis that, once the Gauloise were finished, I would be too, as a smoker.

In the event, it took a packet more, but on Monday, I pressed a patch onto my arm and threw away the remaining ciggies.

It is nearly the end of day five now and we are progressing well. And I haven’t had increased munchies either (which will calm my father, who is more worried that I will turn into a veritable beach ball of elephantine proportions than improve my bank balance and my cardiovascular health).

Step two – book a hair appointment. And that was late this afternoon – fresh colour to cover the grey and a short, sharp cut to make me feel modern again.

I never have been able to do the long hair that, in the UK, seems to be de rigeur for every woman who doesn’t want to be assumed to be a raving bull dyke.

Why this obsession with long hair, I don’t know: why this belief that the only 'properly' feminine hair is long hair? There seems to be far greater variety of length in France than here. Personally, my hair has always been far too fine – and a halfway house between curly and straight – to do much with it if I do let it grow.

Yet more than one hairdresser down the years has baulked at cutting it short. Not Ian, though, who always does a very nice job. And the whole experience – not just the wonderful head massage – is deeply relaxing.

Step three – think about the wardrobe. Not quite as easy. I am, in many ways, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea in two ways at present.

On the one hand, I’m a traditionalist in matters sartorial – my mother had me looking like a junior Miss Marple in my teens, so it’s well rooted – but there's a part of me that yearns to be far more bohemian. After all, I’m ‘A Creative’, don’t y’know!

On top of that, the clothes problem isn’t helped at present by being ‘between sizes’ as I very slowly lose weight.

But what could be done easily was remembering to wear some heels in a morning rather than opting for the rather flat boots I’ve been living in. It might sound daft, but even a small heel can put a bit more spring in your step.

And then, in a take-hold-of-the-situation-and-shake-the-cobwebs-out-of-it sort of way, I set about a day of deep cleaning in the flat.

It might not have been good for my hands, but it was certainly good for our abode. And the exertion was a good wrench out of the lethargy that seems to have been hanging around with all that grey cloud.

I had allowed myself to slump into laziness. Other little things had been allowed to slip too – like a decent skin care routine.

The only thing that is clear is that, five days after embarking on this attempt to invigorate myself, I feel a lot better. Now if only the blue skies stay overhead, I can finally step properly into the new(ish) year.


  1. Having turned 50 last year and with 51 just a few weeks away I can fully sympathise with the dumpy frumpy syndrome My joining the land of the 50's co incided with ditching the hair dye and letting the grey through...still not sure about it but cant stand grey roots anymore.

  2. I have wondered just what the state of grey is like under the dye – I first noticed a grey hair almost exactly 10 years ago, and there's a lot more since! But it would be a complete pain letting it grow out. Having short hair also helps, though, since I should go to the salon every six weeks anyway to get it cut, meaning the roots shouldn't be too exposed each time anyway. :-)