I have always celebrated my age, never more than when I turned the age of fifty a couple, few, years ago. I have revelled in being a fifty something woman. My children are grown, and are people I am both in awe of, and so proud of that I can’t believe that I gave birth to them. Maybe they really were switched at birth after all! I now have an exquisite grand daughter that is the love of our lives. I am able to combine my passion for reading, books and information into something that helps the world become a better place, and that is being a teacher librarian. My husband and I made a tree change just over a little more than a year ago, and invited a puppy into our lives, our first, who has grown into a forty kilo bundle of unending love. All sounds pretty fantastic doesn’t it? It is.
However, in a month or two I will be turning fifty-six. 56. The reality has slowly been gnawing away at corners of my thoughts and it is not always my most comforting companion. If the average life expectancy for an Australian woman is 84.54 years then even my poor maths skills can calculate that I can optimistically anticipate another 28.54 years of life; quality unknown. Putting it into numerical terms, black and white at that, drives home just how little time is left.
Twenty-eight years ago, I was the mother of three children, aged one, five and seven. We have lived in three different houses since then. I hadn’t started my tertiary studies in anyway, and did not even really have any plans to either. My father was alive, as was my grandmother. I was yet to brush up against with cancer.
My mother in law said to me on more than one occasion that she never had an issue with any birthday, except for her sixtieth birthday. She never said why, and now I wonder so many whys about her statement. Is it the slipping over into being a “senior”citizen? Qualifying for a seniors care might get you discounts at the movies and in cafes, but it also makes one into a card carrying senior. “I am ageing”.
I smile when I read, or hear, others lamenting turning 30, 40, or 50. How silly, I scoff, age doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t. not really, except I am finding, when it is placed end to end and the finite end is ever closer and there are still things to do, places to see. Perhaps the nagging thoughts are a prod not to be complacent, not to waste the time there is and to make it all quality, pure quality.