SO I’VE BEEN THINKING … IS AGE REALLY JUST A NUMBER?

“Do you have any ID on you please?” “Are you old enough to be drinking love?”  “Blimey, she had an easy paper-round!” … these were some of the ‘annoying’ comments directed at me and my baby face when I was younger. I’d smile politely, but inwardly feel very frustrated. I often felt frustrated as people just did not take me seriously sometimes. And at the age of 24, I was even denied access into a nightclub once. So, in favour of tripping away the night fantastic, dancing around my handbag, I caught the last number 42 bus home, taking up solace with a dirty big kebab, which inadvertently ended up in the middle of my handbag!

Fast forward quite a few decades and I would now give up my entire shoe collection to hear Dougie on the checkout utter those immortal words, “You got any ID on you love for that Pinot?” but nah, Dougie never asks, instead Dougie is more likely to say, “Aah, nice night in with the old fella then love?”

So, the point is I had always been fortunate or unfortunate in looking younger for my age (depending how you looked at it then), and was in reasonable shape so age never really crossed my mind. I had always viewed age as simply just a number and lived with that attitude, what was age appropriate anyway? I had the confidence to wear both clothes and my hair how I wanted, did what I wanted, and carried on with life regardless of other people’s judgement or preconceived ideas about age.

Fast forward, and even as I write this I am trying to pin-point when the U-turn happened in terms of my attitude? Was it at the start of the peri-menopause? God forbid I even talk about that, and why? for fear, embarrassment, judgement or worry that people may view me as a has been, over the hill, or a dried-up prune …. PROBABLY. Just parking this one here for now as I plan to write a separate blog post on this subject (and definitely after viewing Sex, Myths and the Menopause) with the gorgeous Davina, did you watch it?

I don’t actually think the menopause was the sole reason I started to think about my age, particularly as I started the peri-menopause at a lower-than-average age and I wasn’t symptomatic at the time. But maybe more the psychological aspect of it rather than the physical, although I do not want to have any more children it’s the choice that has been taken away from me, like closure, a statement, a chapter of my life no more?

I am however starting to come to the conclusion that one of the main contributors to my own state of mind about the age thing is actually other people’s perceptions of the middle-aged generation. Even my own daughter finds it highly embarrassing (and amusing) that I have an Instagram account. I was even ‘advised’ not to create a ‘TikTok’ account as it is mainly used for people under 30! No way? Yes. On the flip side, I was told by a hairdresser friend not to have a fringe cut in as it is aging but then a younger friend asked if I was ‘getting down with the kids’ when I tried a centre parting (actually it was to cover the grey roots). So, hitting mid-life really is a bit of an obstacle. And don’t even get me started on the job front, which is becoming a challenge too. I am beginning to witness younger candidates been selected over the older generation, easier to mould, quicker to train, ‘too experienced’ in certain professions, despite the retirement age going for a Burton.

Anyway, to conclude is age really just a number? I actually still believe it is just a number however more a state of mind dependent on how you feel about yourself. My advice (and it is easier said than done), is just do you. I would be intrigued to hear if this resonates with any of you out there? And not just those in mid-life, there are plenty of people in their twenties that are uncomfortable going to night-clubs, preferring to listen to country and western rather that mainstream music, equally judged for been too old before their time! What are your thoughts? Is age really just a number, drop me a line in the comments below?

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