“I grow old … I grow old … I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled” are lines from one of my favourite poems: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot. Beyond that I hadn’t thought much about attaining the age of 50 even though according to my family on the occasion of my 46th birthday 50 is just around the corner.
Then, this message appeared in my In Box in the form of a joke email.
If you haven’t grown up
by age 50
you don’t have to.
I took heart. The few people I mentioned it to laughed and said “you don’t have to worry about that”. I think they were being kind?
Any thought I’d given to 50 wasn’t with dread, the age part at least, but the family expect a party and have pencilled out a two week exclusion zone in their calendars for the end of November 2015, and my best friend whose birthday is a fortnight after mine has already asked me about joint 50th birthday holiday destinations, for older women (WTF?).
I’ve always taken heart in the quote “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning” (Catherine Aird). Now I have something else to aim for. In the next 3 1/2 years I have to avoid:
- getting married, again.
- having kids, my own or care of anyone elses’.
- “acquiring” any more debt.
- getting another “proper” job – this one is my last, I swear.
- cutting my hair.
- getting a sensible car – what’s wrong with an almost 20 year old BMW? I rarely drive anyway.
- going with Mrs S. on a holiday tour for older women.
Even though I heard somewhere that 50 is the new 40, I don’t want to revisit my 40’s as it’s been a few years of just plain hard work & not as much fun as I’d have liked. It’s always been my plan to make my 50’s and beyond, the gypsy years… but whatever, I don’t have a problem with turning 50. The alternative is worse.