Why are we obsessed with age, I guess it’s because throughout our whole lives, much of what we do is dictated by age.
The age we start school, the age we have our first kiss, school-leaving age, age we can drive, age we can drink (legally), age we can vote…
We chat with our friends and discuss how old we will be when we first have sex/get married/have a baby/buy our first home…get divorced…
Then come the random, irritating age markers… on one of my earlier visits to Las Vegas , in my twenties, I was with a boyfriend a few years younger than me. We sauntered up to the roulette table and the croupier asked to see my BF’s ID. I started to get mine out of my purse but to my utter horror, the croupier said in a distinctly patronising tone “that’s ok honey, I don’t need to see yours”!! How had I gone from that girl who was turned away from every bar, to the woman who most definitely (honey) looked old enough to gamble?
Another ridiculous age marker for women is until what age we should keep our hair long (for those who have long hair). I certainly have no plans to go short like I did in my rebellious teens, I like my long hair, I tried a shorter ‘bob’ once and hated it, it looked ridiculous, long hair suits me, living in a hot country it is easy to leave to dry naturally in the summer, tie it up for the gym and is pretty low-maintenance. I take care of it (hot straighteners and the occasional colour touch-up notwithstanding) and I plan to keep my long locks for some time to come.
In recent years, more age-related slurs have come my way, last year while on a city break with a friend, we visited a popular, make-up store in a shopping mall, the sort where the lights are so dim you risk looking like a tangerine after making a poor foundation choice. While browsing the nail polishes, the ’12-year-old’, overly made up, assistant approached us and said, with no hint of irony: “hello madam, those colours are for younger ladies, you may want to look at the other range over there (red, red, beige and more red). Needless to say we didn’t help her reach her sales target that day!
One positive of advancing age I discovered only recently. As a keen but somewhat slow, runner, I enter organised running events on a regular basis. Following this year’s big birthday, I found myself in a new age-bracket and have actually finished fourth in my group, two races in a row, it can only be a matter of time before I achieve my first podium place!
I guess at some stage I will be asking myself the question, at what age should I think about retiring…sadly with my obsession with travel and expensive taste in clothes, gadgets, make-up, cars and shoes, I think official retirement age for women may pass me by!
I won’t politicise this blog but a woman I have admired, purely as a strong, hard working, go-getting woman, is Hillary Rodham Clinton. As a Brit, I have no reason to judge her policies but any 68-year-old woman who has fought and worked her whole adult life to real the pinnacle of her career is a role model for me and I hope that in my lifetime I will see that glass ceiling shattered into tiny little pieces.