While I was out shopping over the weekend, I walked past a middle-aged couple in a parking lot. The woman glanced toward me and then said something to her husband about wishing to be young again. In fact, she was only a few years older than I am, if that; but I was wearing a sequined blouse and blue-jean shorts, and the wind was whipping my hair across my face, so I suppose she assumed that I had to be young without looking all that closely at me.

Pink blouse with sequins

I bought the blouse several years ago from a catalog aimed mainly at younger buyers, along with skinny jeans that had pretty embroidery. The jeans are shown in a decluttering post I wrote last year, when I took them to the thrift store because they were a low-cut style that I never felt comfortable wearing (I couldn’t tell from the catalog photo because the model wore the blouse untucked). But anyway, leaving aside the issue of age-appropriate clothing, which could take up an entire post in itself: Would you want to be young again?

Sometimes when I write blog entries having to do with what people think about age, I wonder if I ought to create an “aging” tag for them; but I always end up tagging them as “cultural narratives” instead. The word “aging” is both too general for what I want to say, in that it refers to many things besides people’s attitudes, and too specific in describing a process rather than a wide-ranging set of beliefs.

I do have a “Younger Self” tag that I use for imaginary conversations with myself in the past, which I find helpful for bringing patterns and assumptions to the surface. While it would be nice if I could literally go back in time and give my younger self a few very-much-needed clues, I would much prefer to do it as my present-day self, instead of swapping places and having all those life lessons to struggle through once more.

That’s not to say I am anywhere close to thinking of myself as a wise old woman in the present. To the extent that I can visualize my older self, she sometimes peeks out of a far-distant future to remind me, in a tone of dry amusement, that as far as she’s concerned I am still just a kid with a lot more to learn. I would say that’s good, though. After all, I wouldn’t want to get complacent and stuck in the proverbial rut. Much better if she has more to say a few decades from now, when the world surely will be much changed, about getting out and exploring all those new adventures.

2 Comments

  1. I don’t have a desire to be young again, but I’d love to be a student again 🙂 Daughter has just finished her 1st year at uni, and she is glowing – shining with all she’s learning, all her new experiences. I SO remember looking and feeling like that! But I’m sure it’s more to do with the being at university than being young…
    I like being in my 50s, and if I were fit and able, I’d love to enrol on a PhD course. I think being open to learning new things, having new experiences, keeps us young at heart whatever our body’s ‘age’ (which is just a number, after all).
    Great post, Meg, very thought-provoking!
    xx

    • Thanks Claire! Maybe you can find an online course that would suit your interests. There are many of them around nowadays, with more getting started all the time. And, yay for your daughter being so full of joy!

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