AS I write this, I’m feeling a tad bleary-eyed. I was at a big awards dinner the other evening and although, unlike Cinderella, I made it home before the stroke of midnight, my addled brain is acting like I stayed out dancing until dawn and then cadged a lift home on a milk float at 5am.

It was my first time mixing in company outside my small social circle since early 2020 and I won’t lie, I did have major trepidation. There was a point where, as I stood by the door, peering in at the sea of faces around the swish hotel ballroom, I felt a tsunami of anxiety wash over me.

This being a school night and my debut – tentative – foray into the new normal we inhabit, I decided to stay off the booze. Not a drop of alcohol passed my lips all night. But the next day I awoke feeling decidedly rough.

Cotton wool brain? Check. Eye bags resembling two violet-hued crescent moons? Check. A general malaise that suggested having run full pelt into a brick wall? Check. Which brings me to the bombshell conclusion: everything I previously believed to be true might be wrong.

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick’s Week: The real psychopath test? How someone drives on a single-track road 

Those countless icky mornings-after-the-night-before that, for years, I had blamed on the ravages of “lady petrol” – overdoing the white wine – may actually have been down to an inability to deal with sleep deprivation. Who knew?

Nor has that been the only startling discovery. Our old set of bathroom scales recently decided to give up the ghost. No doubt worn out by the perpetual merry-go-round of seeing me lose (and gain) the same few pounds over and over.

I could have tossed the defunct scales into the bin and bought a nice potted plant – a big leafy fern or a sleek succulent – to sit in the newly vacated corner of the bathroom.

Instead, I have fallen down a rabbit hole. My tech-loving husband has found us a set of scales that are all-singing, all-dancing. They come with their own app and can glean an impressive/alarming amount of information when you stand on them in bare feet.

In my case, none of it has been particularly cheering. The numbers corresponding to weight and body fat brought to mind that old postcard joke with the heckling fun fair scales that chide: “One at a time please, madam …”

The Herald: The numbers on the scales don't lie. Picture: GettyThe numbers on the scales don't lie. Picture: Getty

This paled, however, next to the bit about metabolic age. I am 44 next month. The double digit relayed by the scales, though, was closer to 50 than 40. A cold shiver ran down my spine.

Having briefly deluded myself that the app was glitchy or confused by my penchant for wearing ye olde style nightgowns in the vein of a Victorian spinster (was there a secret hidden camera?), I faced the harsh facts. My body is ageing. And not well.

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick’s Week: The real psychopath test? How someone drives on a single-track road 

No longer can I get away with the same laissez-faire attitude I’ve always had. Something has to change. I may be weary, yet I have never felt more wide awake.

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