I had a rather large birthday this year. I celebrated it openly with friends and family, threw a party, had balloons emblazoned with the big scary numbers – yet I don’t feel 50. I must look it. People rarely say, “No way!” When I tell them how old I am, unless the lights are very low … or off. I don’t feel like an adult let alone a lady of mature years which, when you have two nearly adult children, is a bit worrying. My aim, then, would be to age well, with a positive attitude, as an example to my daughter, but not to beat myself up when I have a kidult moment.
I spent most of my thirties trying to pass for a good mum and professional journalist – Jung calls these the Warrior Years, and they do feel like a battle most of the time, especially when you are trying to file copy and change a nappy simultaneously. I hit 40 a little confused as to who I was. At that point, we decamped from London to Suffolk and I retrained as a psychotherapist. That must have been what Jung called my ‘statement stage’, when I wanted to give something back and leave a positive mark on the world. Now I am fully qualified and up-and-running, I feel I am on the right path... even if I have no idea where it is ultimately going.
So, what now? My kids can tie their own shoelaces, my life-work balance is pretty good – perhaps I could reflect on what I want for myself, beyond work and family. I have gained some wisdom from learning to listen well, and deeply, and from practicing compassion; perhaps I can try and turn that inward and find out what I want.
My kidult side would enjoy more spa adventures. I’ve been ski-ing in St Moritz, diving in the Maldives, hiking in the Dolomites for the Good Spa Guide, and have just started horse-riding for the first time ever (which I shall report on next month). I strongly believe you are never too old to learn, and indeed studies have shown that learning something new later in life is a good defence against brain deterioration.
I am busy with two jobs and kids, so like the idea of lifehacks – brief and focused hacks to improve your mind and body. For example, mediating ten minutes a day can rewire your brain. One thing I have noticed about getting older is the depletion of youthful energy. I take longer to recover, to lose weight and I don’t exactly jump out of bed in the morning. I need to keep doing yoga as it is so good for my creaky limbs and flexibility, and to find an alternative to running as it is supposed to be perilous for aging joints.
I’d also like to look at my gut health as I’ve always carried my emotions in my stomach and am interested in current research linking the gut microbiome and wellbeing. This is big in spas abroad such as the Lanserhof and VivaMayr but few spas are doing it in the UK. One such isHomefield Grange, a new health retreat offering Gut Health retreats. I am going there this weekend and will report back shortly. I must be on the very brink of menopause, so am pleased that spas are introducing more treatments and retreats that support this.
As for skincare; gone are the days when I could just splash water on my face and ruffle my hair before heading out. I’d like to have more “Looking good!” mirror moments than “Aaagh!” ones. How this is achieved I have no idea, but I’d like to find out if it’s possible – without surgery, pain or bank loans.
There’s so much left to explore, outside and in – I’d like to have more fun, to be myself, to keep learning from people – and maybe stumble upon the meaning of life along with way.