Is it just me or does anyone else feel like they are constantly reading things written by people ten or fifteen years younger than themselves bemoaning how middle age is upon them and after that everything must wither and die? Unless there are a lot of people out there who truly believe that they are destined to kick the bucket the day they turn 60 then a lot of people are obsessed with “youth”.
OK, understandable, fair enough, but for me, the benchmark of ‘youth’ is not looking back ten or fifteen years into the past from where I’m at right now, but looking ten, fifteen years into the future.
Maybe the story is very different for a childless woman who’s biological clock has started ticking – personally I never really felt that pressure to become a mother by a certain age. I figured it’ll happen when it happens and if it doesn’t happen then it wasn’t meant to be. In the event it happened when I was 38. And then again when I was 40.
I’m not particularly phased by the accusation ‘you’re having a mid-life crisis’ either. A ‘mid-life crisis’ is society’s way of containing how we feel about ourselves in my opinion; keeping us in our place – telling us “you’re not allowed to have that kind of fun any more – you’re an embarrassment”.
I say, screw that, mid-life is what happens in that hectic, mundane, demanding, settled period of life when you are actually, in the scheme of things, still very young, but getting to grips with ‘adulting’: parenting little children, getting a mortgage, establishing a career, probably running around trying to be all things to all people. During that time we put a lot of things on the back burner and sometimes 15 years goes by in the blink of an eye.
It’s in the hiatus that you finally get to have a breather and start to remember who you used to be, what you used to love, what you always wanted to do but never got around to or never had the confidence to try.
Sure we do mature and develop and change. Sometimes tastes change, sometimes they stay the same. Later on we have life experience, wisdom, a greater sense of peace with, and confidence in ourselves. To also feel and act young – surely that is the best of both worlds (with a few laughter lines thrown in).
Why should society say (particularly to women) hide yourself away now; unless you’re Gwyneth Paltrow or Stella McCartney, never be seen in a skirt of a certain length; do what’s expected, stick to Radio 2, reduce the length of your hair; never ever consider doing anything reckless or taking up extreme sports; put on a cardie and some comfortable shoes….
Personally I don’t ever want to look back and regret the fact that I never threw caution to the wind and followed my instincts to fulfil certain ambitions. I’m not suggesting that someone who, for example, suffers from aching joints choose to run a marathon – I just hate the thought of feeling restricted from doing anything purely by reason of age alone.