Growing up and aging youthfully

I’ve just opened a bottle of rum and poured myself a double. Straight. No ice (I like it at room temperature). You see it’s my birthdaybday candles in a few hours and I’m in pre-celebration mode. I’ll soon be closer to forty than I have ever been and for some reason, that reality pushed me into a state of semi-depression, mild hysteria and, dare I say, a bit of a panic.

Take a sip…that’s better. The drink is calming my nerves finally. Now, I’m not boasting but I’m often told how young I look, and that I could pass for at least ten years younger than I actually am. And these words, although nice to hear, are not always saying nice things.

I made a connection long ago between experience and how old a person looks. There are things that we take on in life when we reach adulthood. It’s never about simply being old enough to be classed as an adult, it is also about what you have experienced. I was never serious about finding a career so I never became really focused on one goal. That approach worked well for me. People I know on the other hand, always knew what they wanted to be when they grew up and strived for that.

Grown ups being grown up...

Grown ups being grown up...

Once they achieved that goal, next came a serious relationship, marriage then children – in that order. They probably have every kind of insurance you can think of, take regular holidays with the family and are worrying about the banking crisis eroding their pension plan. Those are the things you do when you are a grown up.

So, that begs the question, what happens to those who never followed the rules and didn’t do things the way they are supposed to be done? Well I’m a prime example of someone who didn’t. You see, I believe that if you avoid grown up decisions, you avoid the stress that comes with those decisions and as a bonus avoid looking old. I don’t look my age because I haven’t lived a stressful, grown up life; instead I was too busy enjoying myself and thinking about growing up…one day.

Although I like not looking as old as I should, there’s a part of me that worries that I’m missing out on things that society says Ibday balloons should have acquired by now. I tell myself I’ve avoided the rat race, because it’s a race that no one can win, but deep down I long to be in some kind of race. I remember working for a major management consultancy when I was 25 and my boss at the time, although just a year older than me, could have easily passed for 45. 

I guess what I am saying is that life is about balance. I think everything you do should be enjoyed to the fullest and that goes for working and even being unemployed. You don’t stop growing just because you think you shouldn’t be happy. Since you only get one life to live (as far as we know) I’m going to take these last few hours before midnight to toast the life I have lived so far and to welcome the life I am going to live in the future. Here’s to the ups and the downs; even the goods and the bads.  I will think back to all the things I have done so far and focus on the lessons learned. I may even get a little drunk, who knows.

So my words of wisdom? Find a balance between managing the macro life plans and the micro stuff that quietly erodes your happiness on a daily basis. If there is anything right now that you are unhappy about, think about what it would take to resolve it then just do it. If something is standing in the way of your happiness, it’s also standing in the way of you being stress-free and in the way of you not looking your age, surely it’s worth sorting it out, even if it seems small in the great scheme of things. A little shallow perhaps, but it makes me smile.

Now, where’s that drink?




2 Responses to “Growing up and aging youthfully”

  1. Prekosifa, London UK Says:

    Joanna, unfortunately a lot of grown up decisions do end up being stressful, not because they really have to be, but just because we are ‘told’ through the actions of others that they have to be. When I first bought my house it was stressful, but much of this was becasue people beforehand had told me it would be because ‘it always is’. When I think back there was no real reason why it had to be. You are right in that it is down to how we feel about them.
    And how much older are we talking for this amazing marriage? I have to weigh up the pros and cons!!

  2. Interesting, but do grown up decisions really have to be stressful? Surely that is just a reflection of how you feel about them.

    Also some things might be worth sacrificing a little element of your boyish good looks for – what if you could have an amazing marriage but looked a little bit older? 🙂

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