I was watching a television programme last night, when on comes an advertisement, clearly aimed at the over 50’s. I was stunned because the people in the commercial look well over 80! I thought to myself ‘Do I look like that?’ and I had to have a sneaky look in the mirror, just to check.
I don’t feel 52. I probably feel about 35 if I’m honest, and I’m incredibly grateful that so far, I have stayed healthy. I put this down in part, to looking after my weight and regularly exercising, but I also realise that there is a huge dose of good luck in there as well.
But the numbers don’t lie, I am 52 whether I feel it or not, and that raises certain questions, rightly or wrongly. Should I be dressing for my age? Am I acting my age? How do I know how to act 50? Do I have different needs and requirements having hit that milestone?
I think it’s fair to say that the 50’s are no longer viewed as the ‘twilight years’ as they were in the last century. As a generation we seem to be living longer and looking younger than our parents, which is positive, if sometimes somewhat confusing.
A couple of years ago, much to the hilarity of my family, I was asked for my ID in a supermarket when buying some wine! The particularly thorough young assistant was obviously focused on following the rule book. I didn’t have an ID on me, so was about to go home empty handed, until my son swept in and saved the day with his provisional driving licence! I’m not suggesting for a minute I look too young to drink, but guessing peoples ages is probably more tricky than its ever been.
My shopping habits have certainly changed. I love clothes and I certainly hope there is not going to be a time when I feel my choices are diminished by my age. My ‘go to’ store is John Lewis, but I went into Topshop the other day. As I walked in, I was eyed suspiciously by the stunning shop assistant standing guard by the door. I was relieved when it appeared she was not going to rugby tackle me to the floor and escort me out of the shop, and I was surprised that I really liked some of the clothes! I bought a pair of wide leg striped trousers which were gorgeous!
“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
My daughter continually compliments me by “borrowing” my clothes. I prefer to look at this in a positive way, rather than be miffed that my nice new French Connection jumper seems to have moved into her wardrobe. But a little worry creeps in… what if I’m *gasps* ‘Mutton dressed as Lamb’? My daughter assures me not, and that she would tell me if I was making a fashionista fool of myself.
But are there things we should be stopping doing at 50? Having long hair? Wearing mini skirts? Showing any cleavage? Wearing a bikini? Or leather trousers?
I don’t have long hair, but if I did, I certainly wouldn’t have it chopped just because I hit the half century. The only reason to cut long hair is if you fancy a restyle. I’ve never really been one for leather trousers, but I certainly continue to wear a bikini ( (on holiday, not on the street) and although not a mini skirt fan, I’m not adverse to showing a little decolletage.
I love clothes and I certainly hope there is not going to be a time when I feel my choices are diminished by my age.
Age is something we consider with more or less clarity from an early age. In our teens, the idea of being 50 is absolutely unimaginable. At 20, I remember feeling sad that I had left my ‘youth’ behind. At 30, the responsibility of being a mum was overwhelming and I couldn’t imagine a time when I would have time for ‘me’ again. When I became 40, I remember feeling quite sophisticated and perhaps in some control of where I was for the first time in my life. And when I became 50, I was honestly excited. It felt like a real milestone. But I appreciate not everyone feels like that. As a counsellor, I worked with a client once who was absolutely despairing about becoming 50. Her association with that number was so negative that she really didn’t want to continue living. She felt the good times were behind her, that all she had to look forward to were old age, pain and loneliness. Thankfully after a few months, she came to have a different view, but it made me think about how some of us perceive the ageing process.
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” – Sophia Loren
I don’t know what 60 will feel like but my mum is happily marching about her life at 82 and my son reliably informs me that the person has already been born who will live to the age of 150. Think of that! That means at my tender age of 52, I could still have 100 years to go! I doubt that somehow, but I’m certainly hoping to make it to my 90’s.
Portrayal of ‘50 something’ women on television is not particularly inspiring. We hear about the women newsreaders and actors who are being dropped when they hit a certain age. Presumably because we all want to see fresh twenty-five year old’s deliver our news and appear in the films we go and see. Do we?
There is also an unspoken assumption that men age better than women. There is certainly no suggestion of a few wrinkles making a man any less attractive, whereas women are encouraged to spend a small fortune on the latest treatments to try and smooth out those pesky lines. I wish wrinkles were seen as attractive and as a badge of honour for all those times we have laughed.
A quick look at google when you type in ‘Over 5O’ offers options for dating, insurance and money advice websites! I’m not sure what to make of that.
I know we are all deluged with positive statements on social media and are constantly reminded that life is short and we must enjoy our time on this planet. But it’s so true. I have to constantly remind myself that each day is unique, offers a wealth of opportunity and I must NOT sleep walk through it! It’s so easy to get so caught up in our busy lives and be constantly looking forward to the end of the day, the end of the week, the next holiday etc. that life quickly slips by, almost without our noticing.
I AM going to make the most of my 50’s. I’m going to try new avenues, travel and have fun with my wonderful partner. I’m probably going to spend too much money and drink too much wine …but I’m going to live it!
…. Now where are my slippers?
“Ageing is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” – Betty Friedan