When we are younger, our birthdays are milestones for largely superficial reasons. Maybe we look forward to turning 21 so that we can, officially, go out drinking with our friends. Perhaps we fear turning 30… or 40… or 50 because of the new wrinkles that each decade brings.
Bridget and I once lived on a little island in the English Channel. We did all the usual things. We got married and had children. Between us, we had various projects, like founding a prep school and running an estate agency. We even wrote a TV cartoon series and founded IVA (International Virtual Assistants).
Why do we live in the past? Why don’t we look forward to whatever years we have left? Is it because we know we’re going to die? If so, I can’t think of a better reason to enjoy our lives and keep planning for the future. We should never stop dreaming, dancing, laughing and learning.
In some ways, getting older is easier for celebrities like George Clooney. With an army of nutritionists, personal trainers and financial advisors following them around, they have the resources to get the most from life after 60.
“In youth we learn, in age we understand.” Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach wrote these words when she was seventy-five years old.
What do women really want? That’s the question that many of us find ourselves asking as a friend approaches her 50th birthday. After all, 50 today is not what it was a generation or two ago. 50-year-old women today are vibrant, passionate and active. Most of them are still enjoying their careers, although they may have begun to dream about retirement.
Aging has a pretty bad name. Hollywood portrays older people as forgetful, grumpy and weak. Cosmetics companies tell us that aging is something to be fought. Many companies discriminate against older employees.