Do you ever get the feeling you should be sitting at home writing your epitaph?
“Here sits me, not dead, but no longer a part of the visible, interesting world.”
At a certain age, if you are not Elle Macpherson, George Clooney or Olivia Newton-John and weren’t gorgeous to start with, you seem to become part of the background noise of the world.
This is what comes with growing older. How easy it would be to slip into that grey zone, to wallow in the comfort of no one giving a fig, to follow your routine, eat your favourite food, watch your favourite show, and wander on and on and on into the sunset.
This is where the epitaph comes in.
Or you could choose differently. In my early twenties, a friend told me she would never cut her long hair – it was her “only beauty”. “Me too,” I told her.
But I went home and thought about it, and that was the beginning of a burning rebellion. I had my hair cut the following week.
One of the greatest and most difficult achievements in our lives is learning to be ourselves, to be comfortable with who we are, our faults, our talents, our annoying tendencies, our endearing qualities. We are a package, just like the other people we love, like and don’t give a damn about.
Why should we always be apologising? Those of us who are no longer 20, or 30, or even 40 or 50 or 80 are not dead. We are still capable of learning, of laughing and of making a difference.
Which is why it is depressing to read coverage – some of it apparently not correct – that if you haven’t learnt a language by the age of 10, you’ll never be fluent. If you haven’t had a good bash at an instrument at about the same time, forget about it. Or one study out this week - if you are constantly juggling different goals, it could be making you miserable.
Fair go. We might have a few miles on us, but those in the mid to later-stretch of life can still get up and run.
You can still learn a language. You can still play the piano. You can still nurture a dream to go to Disneyland or even to trek Nepal or paint a decent portrait. So do it.
Goals take time, but who’s to say how much of that you have? The answer is, probably enough. Take a good look in the mirror at who you are, think about what you want to do, and go out there and live.
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