It's become a well-known fact that single women get the raw end of the deal when it comes to ageing gracefully while single men are promoted into the mystic realm of self-appointed bachelor status. As if the decay of one's physical attributes isn't stressful enough, they are faced with so many additional pressures that go hand-in- hand with getting older. Expectations, career opportunities, the pressure to get married, the biological tick-tocking of ones maternal clock and let's not forget the insecurities that somehow seem to follow us into the future no matter how hard we try to shake them off. Are there any perks at all? On the bright side, women are definitely on the winning streak when it comes to emotional maturity but is this really enough to compensate for what Father Time will eventually take away, especially if getting older means jeopardizing our chances of finding the perfect plus one?
Every year like clockwork, I throw myself into a premature panic, struggling to overcome the anxiety that comes with the ominous birthday celebrations. What should be a happy occasion turns out to be a pity party of multiple reflections on the years gone by. I thought that my social calendar had enough going on to take my mind off the Chronicles of Chronos but as I was getting dressed for a ball the other night, I looked into the mirror and noticed a tired expression staring back at me, one that still had so many uncertainties about life. How much had I actually achieved in my twenty-nine years of existence? How could I have done better in my career and were all my failed relationships and rejections up to now an indication of who I was? I couldn't work out whether I was being over-dramatic or whether the looming shadow of my forthcoming birthday was clouding my better judgement.
I was in no mood to go out but Charlotte had somehow roped us into going to the annual fundraiser for her local tennis club. Charlotte was naturally dressed to the nines and looked like royalty while Brenda and Miranda looked chic and sleek, kick-starting the evening with a bottle of Pinot Grigio.The theme was "ball" and we were having anything but. Any hopes of meeting a possible suitor were dashed as soon as we walked through the door. We were surrounded by happy couples all of whom were fifty plus. On the bright side we were definitely the youngest there. The topic of getting older came up and my friend Miranda seemed to adopt a different point of view. "I can't wait to turn thirty" she said. We all looked at her as if the sky had fallen down. She had a theory that the transitional tragedy of turning thirty should be embraced and welcomed with open arms instead of being looked at as some kind of curse. Was she onto something or had she simply had one too many? She wasn't doing the head tilt so she must have been stone cold sober. Is it true? Could the stigma behind turning thirty be a complete and utter waste of precious time, the key to our own demise? Are we the ones putting ourselves into a spin about absolutely nothing? Will entering the next phase of our lives actually provide some clarity to the issues we were too anxious about in our late twenties?
As I went back into the hall to fetch my coat, I witnessed something incredible. There on the dance floor, grooving to the smooth sounds of some unknown two man band, a sea of fifty-plus year old bodies strutting their stuff as if nobody was watching. The jaded cynic in me wouldn't have looked twice but right then, all I could see were a bunch of young souls having a good time. Maybe it's true. Maybe age ain't nothing but a number. Perhaps getting older is only a state of mind after all. Death, taxes and adding another year to ones life are pretty much the only guarantees we have in this lifetime and with so little to be sure of these days, it's refreshing to know that there is still a chance of being forever young.
When you reach a certain age, I couldn't help but wonder: why do we feel the need to stop having fun?