I always swore I would never be one of those women who moan about getting old. As I read somewhere a long time ago, "The only alternative to growing old is dying young", which is something I'm not planning on doing.
I have heaps of older women role models amongst my mother's friends and my work colleagues. One of my best-ever bosses was a 50-something woman who got up at 4.00am each morning to take her dog for a walk and felled her own trees on her own farm. One of my mum's best friends qualified as a barrister at the age of 58. A 60-something woman I know runs writing workshops to help senior citizens write and publish their own memoirs. And after my mum's death at far too young an age (58) my dad took up with a brilliant intelligent older lady whose attitude and energy belay her late-60s age.
My grandfather was in his 80s when he made the memorable comment "I'm going to Montfiore (Aged care nursing home) to visit the old people". He lived until he was 93 and up until the week he died he was plotting how he could return to live in his flat following a massive heart attack. His mind was as sharp as a tack; it was his body that eventually let him down.
So I have plenty of role models showing me that age isn't a number; it is an attitude. But I must confess, on my 35th birthday, for the first time I am feeling maybe a tinsy bit old in a negative way. And I don't like this one little bit.
Maybe it's because I haven't yet had children and the biological clock is ticking away. Maybe it is a reflection of society's attitudes which ooze like poison via osmosis into the brain. Maybe it is because I know my health and fitness isn't as ideal as it could be and I'm probably at my last chance of avoiding following my mother's footsteps of high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, heart disease and early death.
Next week I start a new job; the first one where I have been employed as an experienced grown-up with valuable skills and experience, rather than as a bright young thing
with potential, at the entry-level.
Maybe on my 35th birthday I have finally grown up.