Here’s the thing. I was an expat wife and a stay at home mum for around 20 years. When the day came and our house was empty except for Dave and myself I felt completely at a loss. I also, overnight, felt quite a lot older.
I spoke about the empty nest syndrome and all that it entails on radio the other day with Harvey Deagan on 6PR and that chat raised lots of issues.
So too did the fact that I was termed ‘Mature’ in an interview the other day.
Now while I’d rather be classed as mature than immature, I’m not so sure that I like it when mature is perhaps a metaphor for elderly!
What Age is Elderly?
My mojo started questioning and wondering about getting older. What age is mature? What age is elderly? Is there a number? And why should age define what we can do or don’t do.
It’s quite true that Murphy’s law of parenting states that just as our kids become decent, interesting human beings then the time comes for them to fly the nest. Couple this with reaching milestone birthdays, and facing ageism in society, it’s no wonder that we can start to lose our ‘mojo’ as we get older.
And we have to learn to ROARRR again!
When we arrived in Australia and the children left home quite soon afterwards, I went through feelings of utmost loss.
It’s true that I felt I had nothing to offer the world. I didn’t have a job and felt a bit useless.
I looked in the mirror and wondered who that old lady looking back at me was and my self confidence detonated. I suddenly felt old.
Does your age define you?
I don’t know about you, but I did go through a stage when I let my age define me. When things didn’t go as I hoped, I started thinking things like, “Oh well, it’s the age I am.”
Now I’m questioning that mature or elderly doesn’t necessarily have to have a number attached to it. I think we are as old as we feel.
When I realised that being over 50 was not going to be like being over 20 or 30, and I felt I needed to reinvent myself, I sat myself down and gave myself a stern talking to.
For a start I knew that I had to focus on eating healthy food and exercising properly in order to help myself age well.
Then I asked myself what it was I really loved doing, and what had most appealed to me when I was growing up. What were my dreams back then?
Well, they were always to write and be a writer.
But I was having no luck at getting freelance writing gigs in Australia …
So I started a blog.
And blogging has changed my life.
Many people of my age asked why I would want to blog. There was a lot of technical stuff to learn after all. But I had a bee in my bonnet and nothing would stop my passion for writing.
Over time, blogging has opened up the most amazing adventures for me, and my fifties have been some of the best years of my life so far. Blogging’s given me the confidence to try new things, and from being a wilting violet I’ve learned to take life by the horns and jump into having new adventures. In my role as a blogger I’ve travelled widely and been on a world cruise.
I’ve met the most wonderfully giving and generous spirited community of people you can imagine, and I’m lucky to be part of a fabulous online community of feisty women.
The best bit though is that through blogging I’ve helped and encouraged other women who’ve lost their ‘Mojo’ in later life to try new things. To hear that I’ve inspired some of you to reach for and try something new whether it be in work, life, play or style is the best feeling ever.
On the Radio
And my blogging and online peers have inspired me to try new things too.
Who’d ever have thought that I’d be on the radio? Not me. To tell you the truth, just ten years ago, I used to be apprehensive about giving an opinion at a dinner party (serious).
Then I started to … Imagine … just like John Lennon said.
Don’t let age define you
I really hope that you are not letting age define you. I really hope that you are trying new things, or going out there and up-skilling, learning, adventuring. I’d love to hear about what you’re up to in the comments section. And of course, if you’re ever on the radio or interviewed – I SO want to hear about it 🙂
Whether society wants to class us as ‘mature’ or ‘elderly’ or ‘senior’ or whatever word it chooses, I think we have a duty to ourselves to keep young at heart, and just keep on keeping on, especially loving life.
Age is a slippery concept to define – The Huffington Post adds some other terms such as New Agers, Respected Elders and Generation Botox. Wikipedia has this to say: “Most developed world countries have accepted the chronological age of 65 years as a definition of ‘elderly’ or older person. The United Nations has agreed that 60+ years may be usually denoted as old age,” and in Africa, The World Health Organisation set 50 as the beginning of old age.
What do you think?
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Just read your postcard from Tahiti, great memories, as I was on that cruise. So glad we have wonderful memories of our travels to ponder at this time.
Thanks Beryl – yes what a wonderful cruise it was 🙂 Maybe we’ll meet up again one day. I do hope so.
“Most developed world countries have accepted the chronological age of 65 years as a definition of ‘elderly’ or older person. The United Nations has agreed that 60+ years may be usually denoted as old age,” and in Africa, The World Health Organisation set 50 as the beginning of old age.
My belief is why we should not be designated as ‘old’ merely because a number of countries say so. As Jo has rightly said, it is all about how we feel and act. However, I do think it is time that we ‘elderley’ people make a stand about this issue. Not just for ourselves who have a positive attitude to life but for the many people who unfortunately define themselves from what the most developed world countries idea of age is.
The lives of people living in the developed world has changed so very much from even fifty years ago. At present one out of ten over 70 year olds are still working. 11.3% of women and one in seven men and it continues to increase. Also, the pension age has changed so why not the chronological ‘elderly’ age. Surely these two are inter-twined.
I am very pleased to say that I am included in that set of working females and very pleased that I am part of the present trend to continue to work. I enjoy working and it defines who I am, and always has to some extent. Through choice I didn’t have children as I had my career and that has never left me. I hope to continue to work well into my 75th year and beyond.
Good luck and best wishes to everyone who is helping to open up more opportunities for any age group to be able to work and enjoy their contribution.
Hi Patricia, Thank you for your thoughtful and inspiring comments 🙂
Oh so much of this resonates with me. I’m so pleased to hear you are embracing and enjoying where your writing is taking you. Very exciting!
Thanks Sandra, and I’m very glad that this topic resonated with you 🙂
Life Images by Jill
I certain don’t consider you as old Jo. And you certainly have been an inspiration to all us Over 50s bloggers. I’ve gone into a bit of a downer just lately, my husband retired earlier this year, and I feel like some of my freedom has disappeared, and I’m wondering what next. There are certainly lots of things I want to try. But really I need to hone in on what my passion really is and work on that. Your blogging has been your passion and look where it’s got you Jo. Thanks for Lifestyle Fifty Jo. You are addressing many issues that are going on for us Over 50s.
Hi Jill, thanks for your lovely words about Lifestyle Fifty. Yes it is my passion, and yes I do believe in following our passions and pursuing them for all we’re worth. When you say you need to hone in on your passion do you mean from the point of view of creating a business from it, or following it as a hobby? I think the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive but they can be, and one does change the other. Email me 🙂 I have some questions for you 🙂 I also understand about having a man about the house with no set agenda anymore, and many LF readers are going through the same adjustment. Ultimately I think it’s important to treasure the time we have together (remember why we married each other too) set parameters for ‘me’ time, and find things we enjoy doing together for the next stage of our lives.
Michela of Rocky Travel Blog
I think turning 50 brought a lot of energy into my life with blogging and also with publishing my first book. It also showed how young I actually feel in spirit. However there are also downsides with being over 50. You will not ne able to become an expat any longer as most countries in the world have 50 as a age limit. This is something I have experienced with me wanting to move for a few years to Australia. I have learnt that even though I don’t let age define myself, there are laws that inevitably define you, according to your age! Nonetheless 50 is a wonderful age I am fully embracing! 🙂
You are definitely embracing 50, Michela 🙂 I hear you about the expat issue and it does seem wrong that laws inevitably define us according to our age.
Hi Jo, I really enjoyed your blog about the World cruise. We are avid cruisers, having done 19 with Princess and a few with other cruise lines. Princess is obviously our favourite
Re the aging thing, I thought you might like to know that next month I will start an online Open University course on the history of the Roman Wall. I lived quite close to it when we were in England and was always interested in what life must have been like then, but I am mainly doing the course to keep the old brain cells working!!I am 77 now and even though my body has let me down (I have to use a walking frame) I refuse to let my brain go to waste! I will let you know how I go. Keep up the good work with your Blog.
Hello Beryl, and thank you for your kind words and for following us on the World Cruise 🙂 Wow, you’ve done a lot of cruises – I wonder where you have planned to cruise to next? I always love hearing about people who are rocking being 50 and over and you are inspirational. And what an interesting course you’ve picked – it will be fascinating! I will be so interested in hearing how it goes for you. I would also be interested in your writing a guest post for Lifestyle Fifty?
Hi Jo, thankyou for your kind words, Inspirational YooHoo! A guest post could be a nice idea, let me know on my email what you would expect. We are off on our next cruise in 10 days time, Emerald Princess to NZ. In a suite this time, can’t wait!!
p.s. sorry for the delay in answering, our computer crashed and we have just got it up and working again, hopefully fully functional.
Thanks, Jo, for your kind words. Never thought of myself as “Inspirational”! A guest blog about the uni course could be a nice idea, email me about what would be expected. We are off on our next cruise in 10days time, Emerald Princess to NZ, in a suite, no less! can’t wait. Sorry about the delay in answering, computer problems, but hopefully fixed and fully functional now.
Hello Beryl, thanks for responding. Oh wow, another cruise and on Emerald Princess – woot woot! Have fun in that suite! I’ll email you about a guest post 🙂
Oh this is something I struggle with and I’ve got a draft post about why. It’s mostly because there are a lot of things I feel are still ‘undone’ or as yet unaccomplished in my life…. and not the stuff you’d expect either. My bucket list includes stuff like: falling in love!
Hello Deborah Thanks for popping by and yes I hear you … sometimes age is defined by all the things we still hope to do but probably will never have time for – but falling in love, now I think you Have to do that! Just once 🙂
Why can’t we just be defined as over fifty rather than “more mature”, “elderly” or “senior”? I heard the term “matronly” the other day when someone was referring to a woman over the age of fifty and is made my blood boil. It’s such a derogatory term. Age is just a number, or a state of mind and you are only as old as you feel (which sometimes could be 90 years old in my case!) I was interviewed last week for the local newspaper who are running articles in their weekend magazine supplement on “real people”. I even had to do a photo shoot on the beach this week which was slightly embarrassing! This is my only claim to fame. I’ll let you know when the article is published.
Eeuw, I know Kathy – matronly is the most demeaning term. Well done (****) on being interviewed in the newspaper last weekend – that’s fabulous! I can’t wait to see a tear sheet of the article online when it’s published. Go You!
I really enjoyed reading this post Jo – because there are so many elements within it that I can relate to. My daughter moved out this year and my sons whilst still at home, both work full time now and I feel a little bit obsolete! My humble little blog has been a great source of joy for me and I’ve met some fabulous people through blogging! Though I’ve had some health issues, I think our 50’s is a wonderful time where we can finally put the focus a little bit more back on ourselves! I agree that in our 50’s we are mature – but definitely not elderly!! 🙂
Hi Min, and thank you for reading today. I’m so glad you relate to the topic. Sometimes it’s just reassuring to know that others are asking the same questions and seeking solutions for the issues which crop up at various times in our lives – issues which while not life threatening, can and do impact the way we view the world or getting older. I think the 50s is an excellent time for making a little more time for ourselves, to reassess, reinvent, and repossess some ‘me’ time to do what we really want to do.
Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama
Well said Jo! I say embrace life and live it to the full, no matter what age you are!
I think if you can, you just gotta! Thanks for popping by today Janet 🙂
Lyndall @ Seize The Day Project
I agree Jo. Age is just a number, it doesn’t mean you have to act or be treated a certain way. I”m 51 and I find it amusing to be considered old. I don’t feel old. Keep active and healthy has become so very important, but otherwise, I feel the same as I did 10 years ago. You are what you think you are!
I agree, Lyndall – we are what we think we are – and we shouldn’t let anyone else persuade us otherwise 🙂