Thursday, 22 March 2012

Act your age not your shoe size

Sang Tom Jones (and Prince I believe). We used to say this as school children in a nah nah nah nah nah type of way.  I'm not suggesting that the phrase should make a comeback but I most certainly am suggesting people start acting their bloody age! 

Asides from the obsession with looking younger than you are, people are also obsessed with not becoming old.  We're lead to believe that 50 is the new 30. I read a feature in a newspaper a while back showing pictures of minor celebrities who were 50. The title was something along the lines of  "we look better now than we did when we were 20".  No they didn't. We're lead to believe that having kids, because biological it is possible, in your mid to late 40's is fine and from my own mother's mouth (who is 64 this year) 70 isn't old. Everything has got seriously messed up don't you think?

Now I've touched on this before in my post Life's too short?. It was always deemed that a good life expectancy was 3 score plus 10. That's 70 in case you were born post 1980 and haven't a clue what I'm talking about. Yes, if you reached 70 you'd had a good innings. If I read in the paper that a 70 year old man died I wouldn't be thinking "oh how sad they were so young".  Would you? 

Yes it is perfectly likely that people can live well into their 80's and beyond. But many don't. I would say more people die in their 70's than those in their late 80's. The Queen Mother is a good example of how the seriously wealthy always have a grand chance of living a longer than average life. Us mere mortals aren't as fortunate to have a charmed life.  I doubt The Queen Mother's body had the same sort of wear and tear, toil and trouble on her body as a result of the daily grind.

Based on my calculations 35 is middle aged. Not 40. Not 45 and most certainly not 55.  Women of my generation are leaving it much longer to have kids. About a quarter end up childless which I suspect for the vast majority of them, didn't feature in their life plan when they left school. People ask me if I'll have another child (4th) and I always reply I'm too old. They say "you're not old you're only 38". Let me tell you there is a world of difference between being pregnant in your late twenties to being pregnant in your late 30's. Physically you are far better equipped and are meant to have kids when you are younger.  I should have started early/mid twenties if I wanted 4 not started at 29. 

Just because society says so it doesn't make it physically right. Physically. Now I'm not talking about how you feel in yourself. Most say "I don't feel my age mentally"  "I'm 18 in my head". That's very good for someone to have a positive outlook. Studies have shown that you are less likely to become ill if you remain active and can avoid certain conditions if you have this frame of mind.  But physically 70 is old.  There is no argument against this. I'm sorry.  If you were in a doctors surgery about some ailment and he sees that you are 40,50,60,70 - you are in the old bracket.  Fact. 

Someone said (I can't remember who) when you are young if you've got an injury there's a reason behind it. When you're old you've just got an injury.

People just don't want to accept it. They want to go back-packing in Thailand in their 50's (read this the other day). Is there nothing the young can do on their own these days without their ageing parents wanting to tag along to? Dress sense, clubbing, typical student type holidays, rock concerts. Christ the amount of middle aged and beyond mum types that were at Glastonbury saying "look I've still got it". No you haven't. You look a twat. Go home, put the kettle on and act your age. Youth culture is meant to be for the young.

Why can't people accept that their glory days are well and truly behind them?  Embrace old age and all that it offers.  No one is saying give up the ghost but stop lamenting for your youth - its gone and its not coming back!

Personally, I can't wait to get myself on a Saga cruise let me tell you. I'm sure the thirty something whingy "I want my life back" women (see my previous post Whinging Women)  would have a far better outlook on motherhood if they just accepted they were old now. You're meant to sit in and watch 'You've Been Framed' with a take-away and a glass of wine on a Saturday night.  You had plenty of time to do the young stuff when you were young. Let us leave youth culture to the young shall we.

Another blogger friend of mine aptly named Midlifesinglemum has also written a post at the same time as me (it wasn't accidental we did agree to do this). Please check it out - I haven't read it as yet but I'm pretty certain it will be different to mine!

Right where's that Saga brochure.......


  1. Yup you were right - mine's different. Your post made me LOL but I don't think you'll be making a lot of friends with it. I so want to fast-forward 30 years and see if you still feel the same (except that I'll be almost 80 then, so maybe I don't). Thanks for doing this with me.

    PS When I hear of a person dying at 70, the first thing I think is that they died young. Not that 70 is young but it is young to die in this day and age.

  2. Yes they were very different - yours was very mature and thoughtful and I agreed with it in that age is a state of mind but physically you cannot argue with it. It is what it is. I just think the goal posts move as you get older. Honestly I dont' have any inclination to live beyond 75 -I'd be fine to bow out then. The trick is to live life in the present and not harp back to your youth which I think a lot do and acceptance is key. There is nothing you can do about getting old x

  3. I hope at 75 you will feel differently. How many people in their 70s do you know?

  4. A few - I can't possibly see why people think 70 is young - I really can't. Physically its old - I'm not talking mentally. Why do people have such a problem with accepting it even Disney are obsessed you only have to look at films like Up and the like - they are all geared around the ageing process. People don't won't to age period. The only thing in life that is certain is that you will die at some point! x

    1. I would call 70 ageing, not old.

    2. lol we won't be agreeing on this anytine soon! x

  5. I've read both blog posts and they make interesting reading. Personally I do feel it is up to individual outlook.

    On a factual front I worked as a registrar of births deaths and marriages from 2005 until a year ago. The average age women give birth to their first child continues to rise, and in 2010 48% of all births were to women over 30. The oldest new mum I encountered was 50! (selfish to have a child at that age is my view). Where deaths are concerned I would say 70 was definitely at the lower end of the scale for age related causes. We had loads in 80s and 90s, and not in an area of great affluence.

    Like you I believe we are best designed to bear children in our twenties, and I'm glad I had that opportunity! Mine are now almost 24, 21, and 12yr old step-daughter. When my boys were small we lived in cramped accommodation in London and I frequently felt exhausted and old before my time. Looking ahead to the age of 52 (just) I was imagining myself "put out to grass". But..... and there was for me a big BUT... I partly felt old because I was with the wrong partner. After some years as a single parent I married for the second time last year. We do loads of activities that I never had the opportunity to do before... rock climbing, mountaineering, camping and such like. For me that is not to try and recapture my youth, it's just to enjoy what our lives are now! But I don't really know how others would regard us. We mainly socialise with people our own age, but some older and some younger.

    My new husband was one of 3 children all born before their parents were 22, but he says his mum and dad were "middle-aged" in their 20s because that is how they defined themselves. On the other hand my mother has always regarded herself as "young" and is still enjoying her life, and "stirring shit" at 91!

    You may get to 75 and find you still have life to live :)

  6. Hello Ruth, I stand corrected on the life expectancy for people in their 80's then! I wonder what their quality of life was like during that period? I totally agree - go out and do the things you enjoy like your various hobbies. I like the stirring shit comment! If I do get to 75 then I would hope everything was in good working order as there is little point if it isn't. I would be interested to here younger peoples comments as they've got to think 70 is old haven't they!

    A friend of mine (47) said it takes her a good 30 mins in the morning for her back to sort itself out. Lets face it when you get older things don't work like they used to and if you fall down you're not bouncing back up - you break a bone!

    I suppose I would have to ask the question then - what is a physically old age? There has to be one doesnt' there? Or are we in the realms of you're not fat you're 'big'.


    1. Back problems are a bummer, but they also happen to younger people. At 47 I don't feel that I have reached an age when everything is starting to fall apart. I get up at 6:15 every day, work, look after my family, cook, and go to bed too late! My house is full of teenagers, and very lively.
      I have no problem getting older, the opposite because the alternative is far worse (as I wrote on midlife single mum's posting).

    2. I would hope not a 47! Your house sounds fun. I also have no problem getting old - acceptance is key! x

    3. I think you have to adapt and learn to live with your physical limitations. In the past 4 years I have surgery on both hands (carpal tunnel syndrome) and both feet (bunions and arthritis). I'm still climbing and running!
      Actually I don't really care whether people label me as "old" or not. I'm just enjoying the life I have.

      At the age of 47, not long after I met the wonderful man who is now my husband, I had a pregnancy scare. For a couple of weeks, while spending my days registering the births of yummy babies, I had persuaded myself that being pregnant would be fine, and that we'd cope. However it was not to be, and realistically that was the best for us. It wasn't just not wanting to experience the whole broken nights scenario again, but not wanting to worrying about someone's higher education in my late 60s, or be active enough to do stuff with them. Also my mum was nearly 40 when she had me...way older than all my mates' mums... and I minded!

      My hope is that circumstances allow me to be a cheerful old person. Most mean or miserable old people that I have come across were that way inclined when they were younger.

      I could probably start a blog about my mother (feel hackles rising!). She is a flirt, a manipulator, and follows the "divide and rule" school of parenting. My sister and I have been wrong-footed by her SO many times. At present she is pursuing an old bloke called George. She started a scrabble club so she could impress him with her dexterity with words! Don't even start me on how she nearly scuppered my hen night last year due to an accident with a dartboard.

      Love your blogx

  7. I think what u say is funny and an entertaining opinion and a good read but I would not agree with it.that's because many people are exhausted in their 20s thru child rearing mortgages financial stress etc. But when we get older we can have freedom as children are grown and earning money themselves hopefully. So I think good for them who are at glastonbury and festivals. They are doing what they couldn't do in their 20s. @lucyoy x

  8. Ruth - you have to start a blog about your mother! I would most certainly be your first follower and thank for your kind comments. I do like to entertain! x

    Lucy, I do believe it or not (!) also think what ever make s you happy. I do feel sorry for the young though as there is little they can do which is exclusively for them and yes, maybe if you had kids early you then have a need to re-live your youth even though it has gone! x

  9. I might have to take legal advice!
    We're off to a surprise party for my cousin Mike's "big birthday" today. Mum is not going, but my sister and I have discovered she has blabbed. Let's see whether Mike's acting is Oscar worthy!