Apparently middle age / mid life is supposed to be the years between 35 and 45. What????? If I actually think about that, it does, of course, make perfect sense, seeing that I am not really anticipating living to 112, which I would have to, in order to be able to say I was middle aged right now.
I seem to have spent the greater part of my life in a delusion then. When I was 35, I had a one year old, and while I was a slightly older mother, I still felt young. Ish. And I most certainly did not consider myself middle aged at 40. Or 45, come to that. Deluded, I tell you.
Now I am 56, I am finally ready to think of myself, with all my children away from home, as entering the middle years. And then I find out that they ended 11 years ago! No!! How did that happen? And all of a sudden, those little cherubs I used to teach make perfect sense in retrospect, when I remember that they used to refer to me as old. Ancient. Oh help.
Age has never bothered me at all. It still doesn't. What does bother me is that the whole world is being run by 12 year olds, and that thought absolutely puts me in the Granny Category. I am a Granny, of course, and that is lovely, but the bits that come with it are a trifle alarming. I mean think about it - the people with the power to press the button to send us to oblivion are all young enough to be our kids, and so help me, they are CHILDREN. (Never mind that they are all perilously close to MIDDLE AGE!)
This is what every generation has had to deal with. Now it is my turn. And it is not that comfortable. I had a slight problem on the help line to my mobile phone company yesterday (don't get me started on them) and the person I was speaking to could not remember a time when there were no mobile phones, which means she has to be about 16. And I have been a client of that company since before she was born. I rest my case. We did not discuss the amazing advent of the calculator or computer or the slide rule issue. I appear to be very old.
Well, to the people I deal with as I try to sort out Life, anyway. When I was last in the hairdresser, a young assistant came up to me, and asked if I had taught her. Yes, I had. And she was a delight to meet again, especially as she had been a Challenge of the Highest Order, aged 13, and here she is, beautiful, hardworking, and on course to do really well. It helped that she told me that she was really upset when I left, and that she still remembers my classes for what seem to be the right reasons. The laughter, the fun they had while learning, and the fact that I had perfected my impression of the road runner. That works for me. I am memorable. Hahahaha.
Life is always about choices, and I am moving randomly here. I choose to see myself as Me, just the way I feel now. The number of years is not an issue. I still get as excited about things as I did when I was 20, you know. As irate too. I still have boundless enthusiasm and am full of dreams and hopes. Ideas. Plans.
That enthusiasm is slightly tempered by the wisdom which has accrued, I hope, from living for 56 years in a changing world. Not the world at large alone, but my world. Things happen. They leave their mark. See the stress highlights in the hair. And we will not discuss the horror of actually viewing one's face in the mirror while wearing reading glasses or the detrimental effects of gravity to skin. Those wrinkly bits are quite clearly laughter lines. Or pillow creases. Character, I tell you. Character. Interesting stuff.
Young at heart is a phrase I have never been comfortable with. It is more than heart, and yes, Mum, that applies to you too. Young in outlook. Not settled in ways cast in cement. Being open to change. Letting go of things which are no longer important. Trying new things. Challenging yourself to do new stuff. My mother is good at this. Her attitude belies her age. We are "can do" kinds of people. I love learning new things. It may take a little longer to gel nowadays, but that is because I have to get used to the new glasses, of course, or the weather, or the time of day, and is nothing to do with the brain power at all. Hmmm. I like to see it that way.
I love knowing that in recent years, it has been discovered that the brain has plasticity, and changes, adapts and neurons keep growing and developing new paths throughout our lives. The brain is capable of anything, you know. Up until just a few years ago, get this, no-one knew. They thought the brain was set at childhood and that was it. Oh no, it is not. And hallelujah for that.
I am rambling in different directions this morning. No apologies. This is an unplanned post and it will go where it feels like going.
Time - seconds, minutes, hours, days months and years pass by at the same speed they always do. We can't alter time. The choice we make is in how we spend that time. I know I wrote about living NOW a few days ago, and not spending time waiting, but in real life, there is a lot of waiting we have to do for things outside our control to be done. I can't influence that. But I do get to make the choice about how I wait. And being older plays a huge part in that, because I KNOW things. I know what is important and what is not.
So what age am I in right now? I don't know what it is called, or why. Are we the Baby Boomers? The Empty Nesters? The Golden Years, The..... Does it matter? If I want to think I am middle aged or about to have a Gap Year, I will. And to heck with the labels. We can be as unique as we like! Now where did I leave my specs and my stick........