More on those lovely ladies in a moment, but firstly, I just want to say that instead of sitting indoors marking all those glorious essays yesterday, I went to have lunch with the girls. We met up at work because a) it's the easiest place for us all to get to, and b) we all had marking to collect, and c) town centre parking is a nightmare. Still, the SCR is most pleasant and the coffee is passable, although what was up with the white rolls is anyone's guess!
We spent a little time moaning - as you do - and a lot of time considering the merits of the PhD. Three out of the four of us are doing PhDs, with the fourth shortly to join us on the rollercoaster (after all, why should she get away with it!). I'm only doing it because of all the wonderful and gifted women who've been there and done that before me, like Amanda (in Oxford you brain box), and Anna (who I used to work with - another brain box): Women who set the standard so high, and then said to me, "You can do this, so do it!"
Of course it simply isn't fair that I should have had to meet these bloody women, because I could have settled into a life of childcare and felt that to be sufficient. I could have been a wife, and mother, and worked part time in the corner shop, read Take-a-Break and Heat magazine without pining for something more challenging. I can't complain that I have kids and a hubby, a house to run, a kitchen to stock, and bed linen to change because so do they. I can't complain that I have to teach and mark assignments either, because, yup, they do too. I can't even moan that my supervisor wants me to deliver some bloody conference paper because guess what, these women are already doing it!!! I'm on catch up here, dragging my heels in a bid to maintain academic obscurity and yet knowing that just as these brilliant women have done before me, I'm going to have to stick my head above the pulpit at some point. So to those marvellous examples of what can be done,and what I should be doing also, I salute you!
Now - Oprah and Aging. Can you believe those women are that old?! OMG as my daughter would say. Diahann Carroll - 71?!!! It's criminal, even if she does say she's had lots of surgery. So what was their advice about aging? What have we to look forward to?
1. Anything you hate about your body in your 20s you will long for in your 40s. Yup.
2. If you don't use it you lose it - brain, muscle, sex-life. Good news is that you can, with the right stimulus, get it back - brain, muscle and sex-life. (Brains: MIne are knackered from all this education I've been giving them. Muscles: Two years ago I could do the splits. Last week I discovered I can't anymore. I could also do a handstand a few years ago, but last week, when I tried to show a load of kids in gymnastics class, my arms very nearly snapped in shock and protestation! Thankfully I can still do cartwheels although something went ping in my shoulder the other day. My stomach used to be like a washboard but now it is like the washing. Sex-life is fine thank you and not something I'm prepared to discuss on a blog, at least not until I'm in my 90s and am wearing purple.)
3. For your 62nd birthday you will get a moustache. (Can't wait)
4. The neck never lies.
5. Hair dye is what helps us make 40 the new 30, and 50 the new 40. (I've already discovered this one!)
6. The menopause: hot flushes and vaginal dryness. (Again. Can't wait. And they discussed this on daytime telly!!! Ew!)
On the plus side - well, I have to say the ladies were not as vocal here. More confidence was cited as a benefit, and not caring what people think as much, was another. Diahann said she had more patience, but I feel I've got far less. Is there a patience dip in your late 30s I wonder?!
For all you wonderful ladies out there, we do what we can, eh. Watch that Gok bloke on Channel 4 (How to Look Good Naked), drink lots of water, go for lunch with the Girls, and don't do a PhD!!!