I was listening to a song recently that includes the lyric, ‘the power of youth is on my mind’.
This got me thinking about ageing.
For some people, age is simply a number, and for others they are defined by it.
Our children grow before our very eyes, as any parent will confirm. Those days of not being able to support our own heads on the tiny stems of our fragile necks pass swiftly.
When we are younger, all we seem to do is wish ourselves away to 18. Once we are 18, we look forward to 21 and the freedoms we presume it will bring. Once we are 25, we’re wondering how to pay the gas bill and reassessing our previous two-decades-worth of wishes.
I have recently turned 39 (as one eagle-eyed reader, Roger, recently spotted!), and so I suppose I am staring 40 in the face.
I have to say that all I really feel about that is some excitement because, surely, each year we gain is a privilege?
As yet I’ve never been bothered by the concept of ageing.
This is perhaps due in part to my grandfather who remained spry until his 90s, and also because I’m currently very happy in my personal and work situations.
These things, however, can change at the drop of a hat and, after all, I am not in a career where my success rides upon my being able to look 21.
A lack of absorbing roles in the movie industry is a well-known plight for older women.
Perhaps it’s the same in many city jobs, where spritely young whippersnappers, who may be cheaper to employ, really do benefit from ‘the power of youth’. Although they too will one day experience the changes that age may bring.
Old age can be a frightening concept. Will we be alone? Will our children grow up safely and happily and still be remotely interested in seeing us? Will our grandchildren want to visit, or will we be deemed dull and past it?
It’s only at this stage of my life that I can truly say I no longer feel 18 on the inside. I still feel like me, but that old adage has proven untrue, so far as I am experiencing.
I am such a different person to when I was younger, so much more confident, self-aware and reflective.
None of us knows what the future will bring but, if we are sensible, we do learn from the past.
Verity Lush is a 39-year-old mum-of-two who lives in Portsmouth.
She is a tutor in philosophy, English and maths and has written a book for newly-qualified teachers, plus textbooks and articles for teaching magazines and supplements.