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?