Last week, whilst waiting to be interviewed on BBC Tees, I seriously struggled to listen to the guy the DJ was talking to before me. He had written a book on etiquette and seemed to think that all of us 50-somethings should be locked in a cupboard and not let out until we were ready to meet our maker, in case we actually dared to have some fun and thus became an embarrassment to mankind.
I was literally squirming in my seat as I listened to him saying that he was well aware that people over 50 went to rock festivals, but he was fairly sure they didn’t enjoy them! Says who? He also thought that tattoos, whatever your age, were rather vulgar, and should definitely not be encouraged. He thought it was just plain ridiculous that people over 50 should wear a bikini and was mortified by the fact that people of ‘a certain age’ would ever wear mini-skirts.
Also selfies were best left to the young and immature, as who on earth would want to see a selfie of you and your friend, if it didn’t flatter your features? And, the piece de resistance…he thought that once you got to the age of 52, it might be better if you didn’t go out after midnight – most probably because he thought you might turn into a toad rather than a princess if you did!
Thankfully, I didn’t get to talk to this ‘man of the world’, who was obviously a laugh a minute, and had a chat with the lovely DJ instead. Considering I’ve been to see both Beyonce and John Newman in the last few months, have a picture of me in a bikini on the front cover of ‘Life Begins at Fifty’ (and hopefully it doesn’t put you off your breakfast), would definitely wear a mini-skirt with woolly tights in the winter, and left a wedding in Cork last year at 4.00am, I had plenty to say for myself. The only thing I did actually agree with him on was that, yes, selfies are far too close and my arms are not nearly long enough to get a flattering picture – not that that in itself would stop me from taking one.
You see, the whole point of his long diatribe seemed to be that he wanted to warn us all not to have too much fun, otherwise we might, God forbid, make absolute fools of ourselves. Well, as I seem to have spent most of my life doing just that, I really didn’t understand what on earth he was bleating on about. Mr DJ asked me if it was not better to grow old with dignity.
‘No!’ I replied with glee. ‘I actually want to grow old disgracefully!’
And I’m not just saying that! I really do! I think by the time you reach the age of 56, you have earned the right to do whatever floats your boat and tickles your fancy, and couldn’t really give a damn what anyone else thinks. It’s called being an adult! After all, if we only did what everyone else thought we should or ought to, then, we’d never do anything with our lives at all. We’d all be sitting there, saying, ‘Okay, well, I will if you will!’ Whhhhaaaat? Not on my watch!
I’m sure we’ve all had times when we’ve lost our confidence and our zest for life has metaphorically gone down the plughole, but it’s all too easy to just give in to apathy. It’s usually the thought of doing something that freaks us out, rather than the actual doing. I was really quite saddened recently, when a lady I know said that she would really love to go to a party she’d been invited to, but couldn’t possibly go on her own. Why on earth not? How the devil is she ever going to meet anyone?
A few years ago, I decided to go solo to New York, as I wanted to attend a conference there. I had a ball, mainly because I had to speak to people, and they, in turn, spoke to me. It was great! It was fun! My motto, really, is that if it’s not life-threatening, then I might as well give it a go, because if the only thing stopping me is that I might make a fool of myself, then what the heck am I waiting for? A bit of egg on my face is not a deal-breaker…but then again, many people would say my brain is most definitely scrambled