Yesterday a friend of mine turned to me; her brown eyes filled apprehension and asked, “How do you feel turning thirty?”
When I replied I was excited, she just nodded sceptically and changed the subject.
I can understand her disbelief. I was, until a recent trip to Europe, an ageist. I judged people by age, young people were generally considered lacking in substance and worth and people over thirty were the wise ones that could teach and guide me. Seeing age
as a virtue makes it easier to be excited about entering my thirties. But being an ageist, also meant I refused to date younger men. In Europe, a friend was telling me about being in love with a much younger man. In my mind, I was wondering why she couldn’t find someone ‘age-appropriate’ but out of my mouth came these words: ‘love knows no age’.
This was an epiphany, a serious Oprah ‘ah-ha’ moment. I realised that I had limited love. I had refused to date younger men and be friends with younger people, I’d used age as a defence that stopped love from entering my life. Since this realisation I’ve
released this barrier and only good things have come from it. It's also helped me re-think age.
Other cultures view age differently and in Turkmenistan they have defined the stages of ageing as:
Age of the prophet 49-62
Age of inspiration 62-73
White bearded elder 73-85
Old age 85-97
Age of Oguz Khan 97-109
If I go by this theory, I’m half way through my youth and don’t have to worry about maturity for another seven years – happy days!
When I was in my early-mid twenties I expected to be married, well situated in my career, to have bought a
house and probably be thinking about babies. And apologies to my younger self – I’ve not fulfilled any of those expectations and am not even close. But, I’m never been happier - even single, a professional student (my polite way of saying that I have no career), and renting.
A good friend from England who has achieved the above milestones emailed me a reminder that these goals
are what we think we should have and are given to us from fairy stories, parents, TV, etc. She reminded me that sometimes we work so hard to achieve, that we forget to see the success that we have.
When I was managing spas in the Maldives and Seychelles, I drowned myself in work – ten, twelve hours a day
six days a week if not more. Once I worked thirty-four days without a day off. I did it for my career, to get ahead, to be a success, maybe, also to be considered a ‘good worker’ or to earn the respect of my team and colleagues. I
didn’t see myself as a success; I worked hard not to fail.
Now, in a different way, I’m guilty of doing the same thing. I can spend thirty-forty hours on an essay to
get a high mark – so I’m seen as a successful Uni student, to prove that I have done the right thing going back to Uni. I can sacrifice spending time with
family and friends, fun, enjoying life – everything in my pursuit of success.
And I’ve never really celebrated any of my marks or achievements at Uni.
is living life as you choose. I am living the life I want to live, and that’s
my success I will be celebrating as I turn thirty tomorrow. My question for you
is what achievements can you celebrate?
Penelope Jane Jones.