I’m fairly sure I used to be able to talk to people, hold a conversation, and not act like I’m a total weirdo. After today I’m not so sure, apparently even though I’m approaching the grand old age of 40 I still can’t talk to guys. Well, just the one. Last time I had this problem I was a teenager, clearly I’ve not made any progress here (and the less we discuss the drama and trauma of ‘that crush’ at school, the better!)
Almost 40, crikey. Obviously we all age on a daily basis, and I’m well aware it’s just a number and I’m happy with my life now. I’m also well aware I don’t look like I’m almost 40, which is thanks to an awesome set of genetics (thank you to the parentals for that). Although sadly I’ve not been asked for ID since I was 34.
But it’s a weird mental shift which occurs. I have suddenly found myself in the zone of ‘actual, real adult’, a ‘grown-up’. I’ve suddenly got no grandparents and everyone seems to have shifted up a peg in the family hierarchy. My parents are suddenly the grandparents and we’re the adults who get to do all the sorting out and dealing with things. This week I was actually excited about getting new carpet – when did I get old enough to get excited about carpet?! In my defence, my old carpet was so vile, anyone who isn’t a drunken student would get excited about it going!
Having said that, I still dance around the kitchen, sing along to the radio in the car and sit on floors cross-legged like a student. As far as I’m concerned there are no rules about getting older, and it’s certainly the case that we don’t necessarily get better with dealing with some situations, no matter how much we find ourselves in them.
We grow up thinking that the ‘grown-ups’ have it all figured out, and we expect them to have all the answers. Then we get old and find out they don’t, they’re still making it up as they go along. We don’t have it all figured out, of course we don’t, it’s just we’ve done more stuff throughout our life so we do know a bit more and we can just guess a lot better.
We don’t have all the answers, but we’ve seen enough so that we know there are not necessarily answers to give. Life is not necessarily going to work out the way you expect, things will not necessarily go your way. The only tricks we’ve learned is how to keep going and enjoy what we can along the way. Life really is a journey, but it’s a journey that takes us getting involved and working. Nothing is handed to us on a platter, if we want something we need to go for it. And that doesn’t stop being bloody scary sometimes, no matter how old you get.
Actually, some things can be scarier when you get older. Getting involved with people when you know what it’s like to have your heart broken, to feel betrayed, to be lied to and to have your world turned upside down. Getting involved with anyone after that is damn scary, and it takes more guts than we sometimes think it does. Things like that are easier when you’re younger. I did not have any of these issues in my 20’s and early 30’s. But I wasn’t this scared back then.
Stereotypes abound about getting older. We’re going to suddenly get all saggy, come out in wrinkles and lose our eyesight. Is this suddenly going to happen overnight? Because I have 20:20 vision and I don’t really have time to get to an optician in the next month. Your joints will suddenly get all stiff too apparently. Well I do yoga, have done for 15 years, I can still touch my nose with my foot and my party trick is putting my head on the kitchen counter…backwards. So no, I’m not expecting a delivery of stiff joints any time soon.
Midlife crisis? What about 40 being the new 30? Good grief, sod off. Life is much better now than when I was 30, I’m quite happy being past all that. Life begins at 40? No, no, it doesn’t, crack a biology textbook. For me life began back when a sperm made friends with an egg in the final weeks of 1975. Finally, apparently we’re all suddenly going to be naughty at age 40. I suspect it was the naughty 20’s to be perfectly honest; and those stories will remain firmly under lock and key!
So, sod the stereotypes, you all know what I think of those by now, I prefer to stick two fingers up at them as I contradict them. But being almost 40 is, for me, much better than being almost 30. I know who I am now, and I’m much less likely to tolerate bullshit. I care less about what people think, mostly, and have learned that people only get mad at you if they care about you. People who don’t care, don’t get mad. Think about it.
Why worry about getting old? So many people I know never made it to old age, getting old is a privilege denied to many people I’ve known and loved. We most of us have lost people far too early, and if we haven’t we know someone who has. I watched my ex-boyfriend’s brother die 17 years ago, a horror I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Our friend, my ex’s best friend then committed suicide a couple of years after that. I’ve since lost two friends to cancer in the past 5 years. All of this was awful, I wouldn’t wish anything these men went through on my worst enemies.
Life is not a given, we could all get handed a horrific deck of cards at any point. Live life, don’t regret growing old, the journey of life is a rollercoaster – make it last as long as possible.
So, I may not dance on podiums or tables anymore, but I will continue to dance around the kitchen, sit on the floor cross-legged and sometimes be thoroughly embarrassed when I act like a love-struck teenager.
Life is short enough, dance in the rain and enjoy the ride.