I’ve finally joined a local association – La Guajira, a cultural group that runs a venue for flamenco and music events.
It’s not exactly a residents’ association, but it is just round the corner opposite the Alcazaba castle and it has a good ethos of promoting local culture in an inclusive and low cost environment.
I went for the first time last night, and joined in their language exchange class – English and Spanish. The only thing was I was about 30 years older than all of the others and we played hangman with idioms for two hours!
Next I went up to the roof terrace where there was a concert going on. It was pretty cool – every second person I talked to seemed to be an aspiring American writer – but after an hour of sitting alone on a bar stool I lost the will and went home.
So, overall it was interesting, and I will definitely keep going, but I have to steel myself not to mind the whole being nearly 50 and on my own thing – or at least go with a friend next time!
To be honest it had been a close call whether to drag myself out or put on my pink stripy dressing gown (summer version of the purple furry one) eat pasta and start watching Game of Thrones, and perhaps I would have been happier doing the latter!
At my time of life and all that.
And my time of life has been preoccupying me a bit lately.
I had this bad experience of catching sight of myself in one of the many full length mirrors in my office foyer.
Normally if I look in them I prepare myself – stomach in, shoulders back, eyebrows raised, that kind of thing.
But I accidentally turned my head, and there I was – a fattish, middle aged woman, greying at the temples and sporting an unflattering cycle helmet.
It was not a good moment.
In fact it sparked off a whole crisis of what on earth am I doing and what on earth is happening to my body and how am I ever going to get through all these changes in my life and come out the other side smiling.
Anyway in the end I decided there was only one way to deal with it – go shopping so I could at least have some decent fitted clothes on the next time I had to face the mirror!
And this is where the really painful part starts. I can no longer shop in all the Almeria high street stores because they have all altered their sizes to be at least twice as small as they used to be.
I know. I’m kidding. The fact is I am at least two sizes bigger than I used to be.
I did think about just giving in and going around in my pyjamas and dressing gown like my gypsy neighbours, but that’s not going to make a good impression at the law college.
There you have all the newly qualified baby lawyers trotting around in their high heels and tight skirts, you’d think they were auditioning for ‘Suits’ or something, not just filing some minor traffic complaint.
So, I found myself entering a shop I had previously consigned to the old lady category – Punto Roma.
I was actually almost wearing pyjamas at the time (you know those wide legged elasticated waist trousers that you can get away with as ‘arty’), but I told the assistant I was looking for office wear, and she couldn’t have been more helpful.
Twenty garments later I finally had one of each type – dress, trousers, skirt, top and jacket – that actually fitted and (hopefully) looked reasonably smart.
The price to pay though? And I don’t mean in euros….
The assistant looking at me straight in the eyes (mine being tearful at the decline of my assets and increase in girth) and saying matter of factly: “It’s the menopause. You just have to accept it.”
So unless I’m suddenly going to turn into a diet and fitness freak (unlikely to say the least, the first hint of an uphill slope and I’ve switched to electric on my bike) that’s it, I probably should just accept it, along with the fact that life is full of change.
And if you are lucky enough (as I am) for those changes to be also a chance for new opportunities, then it’s best to embrace the positive, accept the not so positive, and live in a neighbourhood where you can go out in comfortable nightwear if you wish to!