Now that I am away from full time employment I am seeing a different slice of life on weekdays.
In the past, I have dipped into different demographics on occasions – the new mum, out with an infant in a buggy, whilst on maternity leave – a mum at the school gates after redundancy, whilst looking for a new job.
Although there is a huge mix of people out and about during the week, there is a high proportion of mid life and older people. This is making me more aware of my age, my self-image versus how others will view me.
As an employed person in a big multinational organisation, I was part of a specific demographic. I commuted to work by train, with thousands of other people. Age was not important or noticed.
In a large open plan office, with hundreds of people on each floor, thousands in the building, I worked alongside some other “fifty somethings”, many “forty somethings” and “thirty sometings” and a few “twenty somethings”. We chatted about our home lives, commiserated about our teenage kids behaviours, the antics of younger children, the joy of babies, or grandkids, the changed dynamics with aging parents. We shared updates of our weekends, dates, pets, family and friends. We joked with the younger staff that some of us had been working in this industry since before they were born. But age was not a differentiating factor. We all shared a common purpose within the company.
I know in my head that I am a ‘fifty something’, an “empty nester”, that I am in “midlife”. But I don’t actually feel that age. I’m planning a gap year. I did that back in my twenties and want to do it again, as a slightly older, more experienced, wiser version of my twenty something self. I certainly don’t feel like a “grey nomad”.
But I will have to accept that is how the world will see me. My Aussie Mate still considers himself as a red headed guy. He doesn’t recognise himself as the bald guy with the white beard.
I am going off to re-dye my hair now!