Stories of age

I’m finally there*.That time when you can’t talk about yourself and be included in the 20’s something age group anymore. I won’t make it into the 30 under 30 anything. I’m out. I’ll be a secondary number for marketers, I’m no longer a girl. I’m not in the “for young people” age range. So I must finally be an adult woman.

YAY!!

And oh f*ck.

But I’m more in the F*ck yeah! phase.

A new chapter begins. In which cosmetic anti-aging commercials apply. When I belong to a larger, mainstream group. It’s time to settle, kill dreams, be real, and maybe (just maybe) enjoy boring.

*(At time of publishing, it has been a while really since my birthday)

old wood, still life, not living

Coming of age

It’s not the intent of this blog to be very personal and to narrate my personal life events, but more of a place where I share what inspires me and what feels relevant and universal. To share some of deserving appreciation and a source for thought and inspiration for good living.

Aging might be one of those things. Its bad reputation precedes it. We all want to grow up until we don’t want to grow old. We dreamed about the freedoms of adulthood only to wake up to a jail we forge. I’m still waiting to be handed a brochure of the life I want to choose where I only have to sign in. Many things just happened. There was some intention, a direction we thought we were following, but that seemed to be all.

We learnt to wait for the good things. “I’ll be richer when I’m X, I’ll be prettier when I’m Y, I’ll be more outgoing when I’m Z…”. We live life in delay (regretting past decisions, worrying about future probably-improbable happenings…) and in doing so we don’t appreciate the things of the present. We are oblivious to the fact that all that is now, will be gone sooner than we expect. Everything changes and, when we try to grasp it, all we are left to do is to regret that we didn’t enjoy that then. However, we must always be working to the betterment of our conditions, don’t we?

It would feel better to embrace our age, whatever it is, right now. With the challenges and rewards. I just turned 30, so I’m realising how media portrays the world when addressing the general public… With clear roles assigned to the different generations but also deforming reality.

Marketing the appearance of age…

And maybe it’s not just the media, it’s us. The younger generations starting to drive want to talk and express their realities, just like teenagers do in rebelling to the old ways, to the pressure they feel. In that way, every generation feels their story is important, while the older ones get quieter as they have learnt to put their energy on power and safety, instead of expression.

While in media, it looks like the only age worth living is the 20’s. In series, teenagers are played by 20 somethings; in advertising, everybody tries to look like a 20 something, maybe a little more if they are supposed to portray parents. Books and movies are the same, life can only be interesting if you are in the first quarter of life. That is, unless it’s a product for aging, then they’ll show you an unrealistic person of 50 or 60 years old. Seems that no-one knows really how a healthy older person is by default.

With all that said, I wonder, why it looks like this, or if maybe I’m the one missing something. Because older generations, say from 60-90 must have spending power. Not everyone, as in any age, but they surely won’t be spending in a lot of things that younger folks might. So it’s a great target. How I don’t see that much marketing? Are they more difficult to reach? Or too tried and done? What do they consume? Should not marketing also make them dream of a better life?

Back to portraying age

We know the media is unrealistic, although I miss more examples of people to look up to, to icons to admire and to use as a guidance and inspiration in the process of growing through life. How does it look to be beautiful at 50 or 60 or 80? In a healthy, unadulterated way? What’s the spirit? What are the motivations? Life should be full and exciting always – even if in the day to day it’s more a hope than a reality.

There should be acknowledged that beautiful happens at any age, as well as strong, and healthy, and smart, and adventurous, skilled or fun – it just doesn’t look the same.

Most portraits of the future are hopeless. We must be everything really young and then become a shadow. Disappointed souls mourning for false expectations that were never achieved and can’t longer exist. Not much to hope for but to stay healthy and alive and unbothered.

But, what’s on my plans?

I think it’s commonly accepted that the 20 decade is for exploring a bit, the possibilities and the fun, some failures, and then starting your career for life, laying the grounds for a settled life.

Well, not exactly how it turned out. And maybe, it’s not how turns out for everyone. Why not reckon that some may change careers midlife and have many other detours? That is, assuming we’ll get much older, not everyone does.

I may have regrets, but, honestly, I’m relieved about leaving the 20’s behind. Finally, I don’t have to comply with those expectations. I will not stand out for doing anything being specially young. I don’t have to rush anymore. It’s not about trying to be some kind of “prodigy”.

My 20’s were filled with reflections, debates, sometimes I was loving life, sometimes hating it. I got some new freedom, I lost some other. It was just part of the process, evolving as life does.

I recognise it must be nice to know before your 30’s how your life we’ll be and have it lay down before you. Specially, if it seems it will be all that you ever wanted. However, no one knows the future and I prefer to think that the present is about preparing for what’s to come: the things we hope for and the things that might just happen.

And then, the 30 expectations come

Once the adventures and hustling of the 20’s are finished, it only means one thing. You are signing for the 30’s expectations. And they usually mean: job with steady pay-check, home, kids.

In my case…Certainly not, neither. Because I’ve been very clear that I’m not aiming for them. Having kids? No, I don’t want to. To marry and have a home? To have a career? Well…. I do hope I’ll keep enjoying a romantic relationship, I do hope I won’t be homeless and I hope I can grow professionally… However, I’m not interested in checking boxes. I don’t care that I will not be an accomodating person to small talk with acquaintances. I find joy in many other things and I value freedom above all of them, even if it’s just the freedom to disappoint other’s expectations… while keeping myself at peace.

So to 20’s expectations I say goodbye and to 30’s I say NA.

Also, I don’t think I can conform to a job for life, a home for life, and vacations once a year. I do crave a peaceful life, but not a simple straight storyline with a mortgage attached.

What I have learnt in 30 years

Life doesn’t become better when we get to certain self-imposed goals, although it does when working towards them, by making the days more meaningful. It’s not as much as getting to places as it is getting to know oneself – what is that really moves us, our priorities, what makes us feel alive and how to care for oneself… In knowing that, in getting self-awareness, we can keep making decisions that will help us in living an aligned life. Young or old.

Basically, it may be more important to just keep trying and adjusting as we go, to keep learning about the world and ourselves. And always questioning our goals and targets: are they still relevant and meaningful to us today? Is it still worth it to pursue them?

The can’t-miss-it blog list

However, I’m going to use this occasion to write a short list of my favourite conclusions for the decade:

  • Life is short, prioritise. Less is more. Pursue only more of what you want the most, ditch the rest. You can always get back to doing something else.
  • Time runs fast, and everything takes more than double the time you expect it to take. Rush accordingly, this is a marathon not a sprint.
  • Whatever you “have” to do, you can do it in your own way.
  • You are who you are and there’s no need to accomodate one’s character to others.
  • Conventionalism and labels are there for when you need them, but if they are not contributing, it might be better to just ignore them.
  • There’s a long way in learning to love yourself (work at self-improvement but at self-love too)
  • It’s of greatest importance to know yourself. Study yourself, your emotions, thoughts and believes and how they affect you and how you act.
  • Trust your gut, learn to listen to your heart. I think it’s the hardest of things but I have this feeling that it must be worthy 😉
  • Don’t expect rewards, try to live what you want to live today, do not delay on living a good (enough) life, enjoy what you can while working for future joys. Worry about the present to build a better future, do not just worry about the future.

Now, time to celebrate! While there is life, there is hope. We decide the purpose. We must keep trying. Aging comes in the package.

~~~

Sea you soon!

L·S


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December 31st, 2023

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Living