Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Age of Sexy Maturity

I so often hear people say, "I'm working toward retirement, but I'm just marking time. I hate this job." I don't get it. Why do we want to rush our lives? Is it the money? Where's the quality of life in that statement?

I'll admit I worked as a legal secretary in order to help support the family and maintain life insurance for the children. I didn't hate what I did--I liked it. It wasn't my passion like writing is, but it was a good profession and I felt challenged in what I did. You work for attorneys and see if you aren't challenged.

But in my spare time I was writing, learning how to work with stained glass, writing, taking genealogy courses, writing, taking community courses in Italian and Russian, writing... I wasn't waiting for "some day." Maybe because my father had his first stroke at thirty-eight, his second at forty-two, and he died at fifty-two, it gave me a different perspective about time and life. He had been a carpenter, an avid fisherman, a hunter, and he liked painting and going to the horse races in his spare time. He spent his last ten years in a wheel chair.

I guess it's all in perspective and what we hope to achieve in life. What are our dreams and aspirations? And we're all different. I have to say, I've always written--finding scattered moments here and there between job and kids and husband and activities. Often at activities--soccer games, hockey games. No moment in life should be wasted--it's all too precious.

Then there's that thing called "midlife crisis." What is that? He drives a sports car, she maybe learns to play tennis or get a different look. The kids are grown and they now have money for the fun stuff. That's "midlife crisis?" What is there that says crisis? Spare me. Wait till you get there. You're free and you're going to make the most of it. I was once told that a woman my age shouldn't wear long hair. Oh, but it looks okay on you. What? Give me a break. Since when. Whatever. My pleasure, your loss.

I was just reading an article in Out Magazine about Frank Langella. Remember, sexy Dracula? Oh, yum. I digress.

Anyway. He puts it probably better than I can.
I don't understand the notion of retirement. Getting older is the beginning of a whole different delicious pleasure.

Or adventure. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. The golden years--the years of delicious pleasure. Kind of like before the kids--but aged with splendid maturity. On the road to new adventures. Don't read that "maturity" word the wrong way.

Picture courtesy of Flickr

This all brings to mind the poem I read some years back (and ended up purchasing the book back when I was in my early thirties), by Jenny Joseph. Warning: When I Am Old I Shall Wear Purple. I have always loved that poem.

Warning: When I Am Old I Shall Wear Purple

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Purchase the book at:

So, I'm practicing now because, goodness, I wouldn't want to shock anyone. My kids already know I'm out there. So, midlife crisis, here I am. We need new definitions for "retirement," "golden years," and "midlife crisis." The purple years, maybe?

Courtesy of Flickr

We're finishing up one year and moving into a new one. Start fresh.

Help me here. What would you call it?


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