Last August I turned 50 years old, to be honest my mother in law had died shortly before and a birthday really seemed somehow less relevant. My husband and I had spent the previous five months navigating the health and social care system, day by day, sometimes hour by hour and at all points on that journey the extraordinary volume of people we crossed paths with was in truth quite extraordinary. So many people, often older ladies recruited to maintain the best of care and dignity for someone they barely knew but when a light has faded no amount of kindness or prayers will bring the spark back.
At the time I was reading The Well lived life by Dr Gladys McGarey, a 102 year old physician, she refers to this inner light as juice, some call it Prana, others Chi but whatever we call it once we lose it our time is likely done. So as I crossed from my forties into my fifties I took a deep breath in and reflected on not only the adventures I have traversed so far but what adventures I have yet to consider might lay ahead. I was divorced at 40 with all needed to unfold but this last decade has brought deeper friendships, greater love and more energy, it has also reawakened my love of female vocalists with powerful messages to relay ( Alanis I am back!). Whilst I can appreciate many women in this decade have a great deal of things to navigate which prove painful my personal experience has proven different so far, I have a philosophy based on realistic optimism, of course my body has changed, my face and skin are not the same, they are a longer lived experience in real time. I am currently not having a terrible Menopause, I’m not experiencing ageism in the workforce, my industry has always been represented by Women and Men who largely look nothing like the general population so where I find myself now in the Insta universe is no different.
My husband recently observed as I was taking my daily ballet class online (with my 76 year old teacher) that I’ve become one of the people in class that my 16 year self was bemused by all those years ago, and then I realise I’m not concentrating and my teacher is kindly berating me because she knows I can do better. I have older parents, I’m self employed, my mortgage has just gone up a stratospheric amount. I have no pension and no plan B but I do what I’ve always done and I stay focussed on the steps in front of me. I ensure I keep teachers and people in front who remind me I have so much further to go and so much left to offer. I pay no mind to negative talk, when I get angry I ensure I direct it into action that will not make things harder for me, anger is necessary at times, rage is exhausting.
My husband created a beautiful birthday in spite of his own sadness, just us, our dogs and a picnic followed by a walk by the sea, simple, powerful things albeit in vintage Chanel earrings because he knows I love both Chanel & Vintage. And so we beat on, with a grieving heart but grateful for where we are, all the strangers who made a journey towards death as gentle as possible. To the friends and to my mum & stepdad who held our hearts when they couldn’t hold our hands. So to those yet to reach half a century fear not, there remains a great deal of tulle ahead. And for those of you who haven’t had the greatest experience being older, seek out those who can inspire you, teach you and help create a happier place in your body and mind for to reside. Get any and all the support you need, we are not islands, we cannot thrive alone.
For my part I will shortly be joining my talented friends, photographer Paul Weaver & Stylist Suki Miles again in the Studio for a celebration of being 50, there will be a great deal of tulle, because if Helen Mirren can well so can I. We only become invisible to others we if stop seeing ourselves with worth and value and I promise you, even if you don’t feel it, you are already enough, now go and spend your energy wildly.
Pilates Retreat October 27th-29th 2023 (3 rooms remaining)