So, a couple of weeks ago I hit 44, an age that 20 years ago sounded like the age of someone who was middle-aged, and very probably just a bit past it. Weird how things change isn’t it? Now I am that 44-year-old I still feel like my 24-year-old self, I certainly don’t feel past it and as for middle age*, well that only hits home when I look in the mirror…
Am I where my 24 years old self thought I’d be? To be honest I never really imagined being in my 40’s at all but if I did then probably not; I’m sure that younger version of me would have expected a different career path, to be living with someone simply because that’s what I was doing then, and I know for a fact moving to Devon certainly wouldn’t have factored into my future plans!
When I think back, my 20’s were about acting like a grown-up – long term relationship, joint mortgage, establishing a career, spending too many weekends in ‘home improvement’ stores, lots of holidays to America and, if I’m honest, a life that (I’ve discovered now) wasn’t really me. My 30’s became very much about change (planned, unplanned, sad, exciting and scary change), opportunity, friends, some crazy holidays, learning who I really am, and making lots of fun memories. In those 10 years I opted out of an established career and threw myself into the world of interim management, I also found that I not only could survive not being in a relationship (from the age of 15 to 32 I was a serial monogamist) but I would actually thrive on my own. And most importantly I began to realise that while material items might be nice, but they were just stuff and certainly not the key to my happiness.
The last 20 years have flown by, as no doubt will the next 20, and I’m still a bit dazed that somehow I’m now 44. Like the lines from my favourite song, Sunscreen by Baz Lurhman, say; ‘enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh never mind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked…’ It’s so true, 20 years ago I was convinced I needed to lose a few pounds, that I was starting to look old and was worried about wrinkles and bags under my eyes. Oh if only I’d known! 20 years on and oh what I’d give to be putting that 20-something body in a bikini instead of this 40-something one that is now only borderline bikini acceptable. And as for ageing, ha, I had the glow of youth and there’s no substitute for that!
No doubt in 20 years’ time I’ll look back on photos from now and wish I still had what I do now, because let’s face it there is there’s only so much anti-aging regular gym sessions, an active life style, good skin care and Botox can achieve!
Anyway enough of this, I’m on holiday, have a G&T hangover to deal with, people to chat with and a bikini to squeeze into!
*Although I’m sure 24-year olds do look at my 44-year old self and think “yep, she’s old.”!