What’s the definition of ‘ageing’? If it’s a sound, surely it’s a groan. Or simply ‘meh’?
Anyone who has felt their first unexplained back twinge, or is carefully monitoring that could-be-a-crow’s-foot crease, has the start of a typical relationship with ageing, and the mindset to go with it. Not surprising really – no-one looks forward to the day that their nipples finally tuck into their knee-high boots.
But I saw an article earlier that turned ageing on its head, with a positive approach that you don’t see very often. It talks about the ages when you peak at certain things in life, and there’s far more to whoop about after the age of 30.
If you’re 23, you’re probably feeling pretty satisfied with life. If you’re 25, give a nod to your muscles, which are at peak strength. At 39, girls, you’ll hit your top salary, and your emotional intelligence is on fire aged 51:
7: Learning a new language
18: Brain processing power
22: Remembering names
23: Life satisfaction
25: Muscle strength
26: Finding a partner for marriage
28: Running a marathon
30: Bone mass
31: Playing chess
32: Remembering faces
39: Salary (women)
40: Making a Nobel Prize winning discovery
48: Salary (men)
50: Arithmetic skills
51: Understanding people’s emotions
69: Life satisfaction (again)
74: Happiness with your body
82: Psychological wellbeing
I’ve never thought about my approach to ageing, but I know for sure that it’s instinctively more negative than positive. A process that leaves you with a moustache regardless of your gender and takes away your loved ones will always be rubbish. But, as a 30-year-old woman working in an office where the air still smells faintly of Clearasil, I need to give it a chance. So here we go – a little positivity to ease those aches and pains. Ageing is good because:
You have skills
You can remember you’re hosting a dinner party mere minutes before your guests arrive, and thanks to your cooking skills and cupboard staples, pull it off with little more than tinned tomatoes and a smile. The same goes for small talk and keeping pot plants alive for more than two weeks, which seem to become less of a challenge. You’ve done it all before and can think about more important (or fun) stuff.
When older and generally assumed to be a parent, stressed by work, tired of commuting or just busy with life, you can do what the hell you like and kind of get away with it. If you want to have friends over, drink too much wine and fall asleep on the sofa at 11pm, they’ll probably do the same and you’ll all be massively relieved. If you want to hit the clubs and behave disgracefully on top of a table while your mascara melts down your face, everyone smiles at you and thinks you’re just letting off steam.
You have a stash of cool stuff
Gone is most of the flimsy bargain furniture, having been replaced with classy statement pieces, and your wardrobe is a haven (well, realistically still a chaotic mass) of basics and investment buys.
You give less of a shit
Everything’s so concentrated in your teeens. Life consists of school, what’s for tea, and attempts at romance. And cider. With age comes distractions. Work, family, money, worming the cat, pensions. It doesn’t mean you give less of a shit in the moment, but there’s less time to dwell and think about things. And thinking is sometimes a BAD thing!
You know who your friends are…
… and you’re not afraid to tell them. By the time most people have had pointless but longstanding disagreements with a couple of school friends and lost touch with others, you’re left with a small bunch of great friends. You know who to go to with a dilemma, who will indulge you with cake and sympathy, and who to take out dancing. You’re also over the awkward teenage years of pretending that you don’t do emotions, so are able to show them that you care and kind of love them, really. *Flushes bright red*
How do you feel about getting old? Good, bad, or just meh?