|Image - Sartorialist|
My beautiful wife (BW) and I were heading out to dinner with some friends recently and we were discussing this blog site on the journey to meet them. I labelled, if that's the right expression, our friends as middle-aged. My BW corrected me and said "Oh I don't think X would consider herself to be middle-aged". This of course started a debate on what exactly is middle-aged nowadays.
I look back at my parents when they were my age (52) and remember thinking at the time that they were distinctly old! Now that age myself I would be mortally offended if somebody called me old. I pride myself on being in good health, the same weight that I was when I was 26 and comfortably able to undertake a range of physical exercises (downhill skiing, running, swimming etc). Yet, I had never really thought deeply about labelling myself as middle-aged. I just assumed, because I'm 52, that I fitted into that category.
I guess with life expectancy in the Western world averaging 76 years, then mathematically anybody in their 40s and 50s is middle-aged. Anybody in their 60s and over would be in old age. But I dislike that form of labelling. Surely there is more to it than just our physical age? I still feel just as youthful and energetic as I did in my 20s (but I do not wish to dress as though I was in my 20s!).
|Image - Sartorialist|
I'm left wondering whether the term middle-aged is now somewhat anachronistic and that another term (perhaps 'maturity') would be better? Then we could apply some balanced criteria. For example:
- How healthy do I feel?
- How confident do I feel?
- Do I exude vitality?
- Do I approach life with the right balance between respect and healthy cynicism of everything around me?
- Am I not too set in my ways?
- Am I comfortable and self-assured?
I hope you can begin to see where I'm going with this.
This debate has inspired me to continue writing, because I know that exploring these issues and helping other people on the same journey that I am on to achieve a sense of self-confidence, of being at ease and self assured, of being comfortable being individualistic, is important. It's important because these are all positive human characteristics, that can inspire those who are younger than us, and at the same time create a reassuring comfort to those that are older and need our care and attention.
Some perhaps call this the sandwich generation, but surely it is a glorious generation and a unique moment in our life's journey where we can inspire others. If style is something that we have said, done, expressed or performed then this new definition of middle-aged fits perfectly with this. Let's have a healthy attitude as we move forward in 2013 and above all else inject fun and sheer enjoyment into our 'mature' life!
Here are some images that to me sum up the 'attitude' of enjoying life (all from the Sartorialist).