Many years ago I remember reading an interview with Michelle Pfeiffer where she spoke about how nobody warns you how tough it is in your twenties as a woman.
I thought it was a good point to make as it can be a troubling time not quite knowing who you are, where you’re going and all the that, even though older age groups seem to think you have the world at your feet. Which of course you do but when there’s so much at your feet, how do you know what to step over and what to pick up?
Now at the half way mark of life as I am and anyone else just over the age of 40 might be, there’s another chapter that nobody warned a lot of us about which I’d like to flag up right here because it’s another tough one I think.
Why is it I’d like to ask, that they only seem to publicly discuss a mid life crisis if it happens to be the poor old stereo-type bloke racing around town in the red sports car and the dizzy blonde strapped in next to him?
It’s not like the rest of the population outside of this generic guy manages to avoid the half way mark and not have a few looming questions to answer of themselves and a swag of anxious thoughts about the future.
Forget the wanting a sports car or mini skirts to try and convince yourself you’re still in your heyday, how about the feeling that you’ve still got hopefully the same amount of time left on the planet as you’ve had on it?
How about the fact that you might have reached a point where you’re bored to tears with what you’ve been doing career wise or even personally?
It’s not like you’ve got any cheerleaders behind you thrusting their pom-poms at you singing “Hey you, what you going to do?” It can actually feel like you’ve hit an age where no one is watching, no one really cares and everyone else seems to be getting the good jobs. Everyone else being the ones a decade or so younger than you.
I’ve got friends that are my age that are qualified lawyers who although took a few years out of the game, who now can’t even get a gig as a legal secretary. What’s with that?
And why if a woman with 20 years experience in a niche field such as the music industry now can’t even get a job as a receptionist at a record company? It’s not like she’s hard of hearing or knitting a scarf behind the reception counter as Joel Madden saunters in.
Why is experience at the age of 40 plus no longer even considered relevant?
Another thing that should be discussed more about this mid way mark is that given you still have so much of your life still ahead, how about the fact that you might now be able to take up something new? Switch gear of a non sports car nature and do something completely different? You’ve got wisdom of years, possibly a friend network that can help you work out how to go about starting a fresh venture, so why don’t we celebrate this newfound freedom? Why does it seem we just encourage people to think about their retirement as soon as they can?
I like the explanation that a friend’s therapist gave her recently which for the record was not just a patronizing ‘you’ll be right love, here’s some lip service’, he said “what people don’t realise is that many of us are actually late bloomers. They’re meant to do their best work in the second half of their lives.”
It’s a little sad that society seems to feel unless you’re a CEO of something that you’re almost washed up at 40, when in reality life and opportunities are a long way from over.