It occurred to me over the weekend that I am nearer my next birthday than my last.
I will be 48 in February.
And that is shocking to me.
Around this time of year, I start telling myself I am already my next birthday age as a way of preparing myself for the inevitable.
That’s nearly 50 and that is such a seismic, monumental mental leap for me, I’ve decided to cut out the next two years and skip straight to telling myself I’ve been on this planet for half a century.
And just deal with it.
I figure that way by the time my 50th finally rolls around I’ll have got used to the idea.
I came to this realization (that I am nearly 48 50) because I was noticing how young everyone is.
I kept wondering why they looked so young. Then hit it me.
They were young.
When you’re 47, going on 48 50, just about everyone is younger than you.
There are more people younger than you than older than you.
And a lot of those older than you are indoors!
You are surrounded by people mostly significantly younger.
It has been quite a traumatic weekend realizing this.
How did I get so old?
I remember when I was the youngest. I always seemed to be the youngest to do new things.
My poor parents had the child who always broke through boundaries.
Later, whatever it was would become ordinary. Normal. Old hat. In a few years all my parents’ friend’s would be dealing with the same issues.
But I was always the first. And my parents had to have their ideas rather brutally, if I’m honest, um, expanded.
They were reluctant pioneers.
They would have been very happy to swap blazing trails for a cozy warm fire but I was having none of it.
I like to think I was simply ahead of my time. 🙂
But now I find myself among the oldest in my peer group.
And the thing is.
I still feel like I’m twenty-five.
I have the same energy, the same combination of ditzyness and logic, the same hopes and fears.
I still feel uncertain, have questions, I haven’t reached a place of unshakeable confidence.
I still laugh at the same things I did two decades ago.
And I still have dreams and plans I haven’t yet put into practice.
I can remember being twenty-five like it was yesterday.
And in my mind I’m still there.
I understand this feeling of inner youth and outer age is common.
I have an older, wiser woman in my life to whom I go for advice, perspective.
She tells me, even though she is nearly 70, it is the same for her. Stuck in a mental timewarp.
Still feels like a girl.
I have often looked to someone to give me guidance, help, wisdom when I’m feeling lost.
Only to realize I have vastly more life experience than they do and really the transaction should be the other way around.
That’s why I love the older women in my life – twenty or more years older – who can help me when my 25 year-old inner self feels in need of some comfort or advice.
Sometimes our mothers can fill those roles, but often they can’t and we need to look further afield.
Having a groundedness based on years of experience, reflection and learning, these women can be a vast, deep vat of wisdom that we would do well to listen to.
There have been years of my life when my older women friends have not been available to me. When I moved to the US, it took over a decade to find someone to step into the role that had been vacated on my move.
During that time, without a compass, I did my best and I did OK but I looked forward to those times when I could ask those deep questions about what is really important in life from the perspective of someone who has a generation on me.
I guess as I am nearly
48 50, it will soon be my turn to undertake that role.
I could probably do it now – to someone who really was twenty-five. On the inside and the outside.
I wonder though if she’d realize that secretly I consider her my peer.
And that I still find it shocking there are people in seriously important and powerful positions.
Who were born in the ‘70’s.
Do you have an older woman in your life? One who you can turn to for advice and perspective? Where has she come from to land in your life and what advice would you give to someone looking for their own female mentor?