“Old enough to know better and young enough to still not give a damn.” – Anon
This post is dedicated to Mags – You know who you are.
I am fast approaching a birthday that cannot be avoided and the number makes me nervous. I don’t consider myself old or “past it” but the fears are still there, hiding in the eaves at my lifes’ theatre. The realisation that my hourglass is a little less full than before is creeping stealthily upon me.
There are some wonderful things about getting old-er (see what I did there?). On one level, I have started to feel that I am growing into my body and I am far less concerned with how others perceive me. Gone are the days where I would stand in my bedroom in the morning paralysed with fear at the wardrobe, although black tie events do still hold this power – occasionally.
Nowadays, I speak out when I see something that’s not right, whether it is a complaint about customer service or just a general “stupid idea” at work. I try to do these things in the nicest way possible and it comes from a confidence that has grown into my skin with me. It must have been on sabbatical during my twenties.
The onset of being thirty-six (in four weeks’ time) has made me look at other things, important things, that I thought I had locked up in a tight little chest at the bottom of the ocean, never to see the light of day again.
Take the question of children; the time is coming where I will have to make a conscious choice. I have always thought that children are one of the greatest adventures you can have in your life. But If I don’t decide soon, it may no longer be a decision that is in my hands, the choice will have been made for me by my body.
The issue is further complicated by my husband who is a full two decades older than me and already has the most amazing daughter (she’s thirty-two and not allowed to have kids – EVER!). He reassures me all the time that if I decide that this is right, he will be fully behind me one hundred percent. This lacks the urgency for him – He’s been there and done that. I feel pressurised into choosing “against” for his sake – as children, whilst an adventure, also need you to make significant lifestyle and economic sacrifices.
Then there is my writing. Put off for more than twenty years whilst other dramas played out. I’m greatfull to have this wonderful gift back. I finally think that I’m ready. My former angst about writing wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, it was the divine hope that if I didn’t do it at all. I could always tell myself that I could have done it. – I could have been a contender….
Luckily the voices just won’t quit at the moment. The urge is strong.
As I look into “my view” this morning I notice that the sun is shining for the first time in months in the UK. The flowers he planted all look beautiful. Juicy fat strawberries; the last of the summers crop sit waiting for me to have a forage.
So, today I am going to go out and make some memories with the view-maker because sitting indoors writing whilst wonderful, isn’t living fully and I’d like to squeeze some more sand out of that hourglass.
by Jenny Joseph
WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple
Comments as always, welcome.