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Celebrity Column | The brand new old me, writes Shweta Bachchan Nanda

Celebrity Column | The brand new old me, writes Shweta Bachchan Nanda – It all started at a Zara. My daughter and I showed up at the cashier’s with the same T-shirt! She insisted we couldn’t buy the same thing, after a brief and unconvincing struggle, I relented. On the ride home, she plugged into her phone; me slowly starting a spiral that would lead to nothing productive, had forgotten the bonhomie that daughters with mothers of a certain age find rare to share. Well into my 40s, I’m still wading in the shallow end, not deep enough to start worrying about hot flashes and sweats, but I know it’s well within my reach, I start thinking if I’m going through something or the other. By the time I am home, I’m convinced. If there is a “female midlife crises” I am in the throes of it. 


Shweta Bachchan Nanda

It all started at a Zara. My daughter and I showed up at the cashier’s with the same T-shirt! She insisted we couldn’t buy the same thing, after a brief and unconvincing struggle, I relented. On the ride home, she plugged into her phone; me slowly starting a spiral that would lead to nothing productive, had forgotten the bonhomie that daughters with mothers of a certain age find rare to share. Well into my 40s, I’m still wading in the shallow end, not deep enough to start worrying about hot flashes and sweats, but I know it’s well within my reach, I start thinking if I’m going through something or the other. By the time I am home, I’m convinced. If there is a “female midlife crises” I am in the throes of it.

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There is something about hitting 40, the half- way mark that is heady and liberating, it runs away with you and you reach your 50s out of breath and wondering, ‘Where was I going with that?’ As a woman, I have never felt more alive or comfortable in my own skin. Yet, I know somewhere inside, my cells are doing the restaurant’s equivalent of turning off the air-conditioning. Is that what is driving me? The high of the last hurrah? A few years ago, my mother stopped dying her hair and has gracefully gone grey. At 40, after half a lifetime of being too unsure of myself and too scared of what my mother would think, I decided I’m going to throw in some blondes into mine.

Needless to say, my mother did not approve, but this time her disapproval was not prohibitive, I’m still sticking to my guns (in this case strands). Symptomatic of a midlife crises, could very well be. In my head, I’m as vibrant as a 16 year old, delusional, yes, do I want to change it? Absolutely not! I wear distressed jeans and watch YouTube videos on contouring. When we travel abroad together, people mistake my daughter and me for sisters — I love telling them my age, my daughter is cringing, jabbing me in the ribs and asking me to “calm down.” My kids won’t give me the names of the songs they’re playing, so I have taken to sneakily Shazaming them so I can play their songs on top volume while I shower, ignoring their knocks on the door asking me to turn it down! ‘Act your age, not your waist size;’ for the first time in so many years I don’t care about the waist size, so no! Keep your advice to yourself! I don’t want to be young (who wants to go back to being at odds with yourself and the world desperate for acceptance) nor am I fighting my age, I’m just embracing myself and what better time than now? Imagine shaking off all that old restrictive ill-fitting skin, that’s what middle age is like — a brand new old you.

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My daughter walks into my room clutching the much-contested T-shirt, she wants me to have it; on second thought, she doesn’t think she will wear it. I tell her it suits her far better and hand it back. It was the adult thing to do. Crises midlife and otherwise, averted.

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