I know my own mind
This stage of life where we consider retirement in all its forms is a time when we can drop the masks and be true to who we are. If we don’t will we carry on trying to fit in and if we do, at what cost to us?
One of the things I like about getting older is to realise I know my own mind; life ahead is uncertain and I no longer will put up with things. I’m also letting a lot of things go.
When younger I would adapt to suit my bosses, show myself as the extrovert, proactive person who would say yes to more work, stay late, put the job first, all because of my career focus and wanting to get on. I thought if I didn’t return to work within 3 months of having a child and even doing work while on maternity leave that my career would take a dive (this was 1985).
With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that all would have gone well, there is always another promotion, another opportunity and the importance of wisdom. That’s a benefit of ageing, taking a longer-term view of actions.
In many areas of my life, I will do what I want – I’ll dance like no one is watching (we know they are checking their phones), I will go to events alone if no one else wants to go, I’ll speak to strangers and ask them questions. I’ll stand up for my rights and complain, albeit in a subtle and influential way.
Is this something that we all do? We all reach a stage where we don’t give a f*ck? We just don’t care?
Want to invite me to a lunch, a party, to go with you shopping, if I want to go I will but if I really need quiet time alone, I’ll say no, and I won’t feel guilty. In the same way if my friend or partner don’t want to do something, it’s fine, I’m not going to guilt trip them.
I’m wondering if we need to go through this stage in life to move on from the younger self who does care, and does put others first.
Time around late 50s and 60s seems to me to be a powerful life stage to be able to be true to ourselves, to wear what we want and to stand up for what we think is right. Part of my doctoral research found that people who, in their 50s and 60s were campaigning for the environment, etc., were often the people who were campaigning for CND in their younger years.
Being true to ourselves allows the more authentic self to show up. For me this also included to embrace my grey hair and to worry less about the wrinkles and lines on my face – signs of a life well lived.
I also wonder if this is something that affects women more than men?
I’d love to know your thoughts on this, thanks in advance, Denise x