Growing Old is Mandatory…but Growing Up is Optional

Everybody wants to live forever, but nobody wants to grow old. Jonathan Swift
Recently, I noticed that I was older than some other people around me. What finally caused this awakening? Was it really that sudden or had I just been in denial until last Tuesday?

When I pondered this revelation more closely, I decided that there had been hints along the way that I had chosen to ignore:

Ignored Hint #1:  Sports stars were younger than me.

In fact, the entire local cricket team are now younger than me and I’m not even game to check the ages of anyone on the lawn bowls team!

But why would this have concerned me when I was 28? I was never planning a career in sport and yet somehow this seemed like I had run out of time and missed an opportunity… for what you ask? Obvious isn’t it… to have the option of representing Australia at the Olympics!

Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself. Tom Wilson

Ignored Hint #2: I didn’t go on dates anymore… my children did!

This stage of my life was not short and yet my inner genius still didn’t catch on… or was this just the beginning of ‘the denial’?

Everything was written on the calendar as ‘a date’ and it required the tactical manoeuvring skills of an army general during Desert Storm: play dates, party dates, sleep over dates, little athletics, soccer, netball, cricket, rugby and basketball dates, violin, keyboard and dance lesson dates, science weekend dates, hiking, camping, caving and bird watching dates, bike and horse riding dates, turning up and smiling at school assembly dates, rainy swimming carnival dates, hot sweaty athletic carnival dates… and finally (aarggh… my all time favourite) end of year presentation/speech day dates!

I’m back… and you knew I was coming. On my way here I passed a cinema with the sign ‘The Mummy Returns’. Margaret Thatcher

Ignored Hint # 3: Mid Life Crisis!

Seriously people… after reading IH#2, are you in the least bit surprised I had to ‘find myself’???

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. Sophia Loren

Ignored Hint #4: I don’t get Rap Music.

My parents didn’t enjoy my music when I was younger and so I decided I’d be aware of my children’s music tastes and enjoy it alongside them. The boys and I have rocked out at a Red Hot Chillies concert; Rob and I enjoyed Pearl Jam on the rocks; I was happily rocked to sleep by Midnight Oil at an end of week concert; Prue and I rock, bopped and bonded over Bette and Beyonce, and finally… we are all now excitedly looking forward together to that holiest of Steel grails…a rock hard Metallica concert!

But… I just can’t stand Rap! “I’ve tried but I just don’t get it! It’s not musical. It just sounds all the same.” As soon as these words came out of my mouth, I remembered my Mum saying exactly the same to me when I was 15. I was rocked… when did I turn into my mother???

The first sign of maturity is the discovery that the volume knob also turns to the left. – Jerry M. Wright

Ignored Hint #5: The UK had a female Prime Minister 30 years ago but Australia only obtained one by default in 2010.

White women in Australia were among the first in the world to get the right to vote and yet no matter how much Germaine insisted we burn our bras, it seems that someone doused the fire and strapped on a straightjacket. I am surprised at the issues that are still being debated that I thought would be common place by now:

  • When will there be equal pay for women?
  • Thanks for saying ‘Sorry’ Kevin but have land rights been achieved for aboriginals?
  • Like the US, will we have to wait for the colour of our Prime Minister’s skin to be a contrived storyline in TV dramas before we get the real thing?
  • Why does the world still have land mines?
  • Why is sexuality still considered legal criteria for anything… is race? address?? cereal preference???  
  • Why do we still hear the term ‘asylum seeker’ and discuss a solution?

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.  Henry Ford

Why did I have an awakening?

It’s time for the next option… to grow up!

I don’t really mind getting old if I’ve learned and followed it with action. Therefore my active response is to encourage each other and to encourage our children to finish what we started. Let’s not just talk about it anymore, let’s create change!

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