Welcome to the ‘3rd Act’. I’m not sure who coined that phrase but as I celebrate my 60th birthday, I’m claiming it as my launch pad for the next phase of my life. Having been widowed suddenly at the age of 58, I know only too well that ageing is a privilege denied to many and that ‘every day' is a bonus!
All around us though, we’re told that ageing is somehow shameful and something to be avoided at all costs (or at least to be avoided in terms of owning up to your age). Greetings cards are full of jokey age puns, beauty magazines are full of ‘how to look 10 years younger’ and there’s still a widespread coyness in many women about ‘revealing’ their age.
I also think that 60 isn’t what it used to be. I find it hilarious that I will now be eligible for all kinds of little perks and benefits as the date ticks over on the calendar, despite the fact that I work full time, run my own business and am not even contemplating ‘retirement’. Tempting as it is, I will not be hot-footing it down to B&Q on a Wednesday for my ‘Diamond Discount’ or enjoying ‘Senior Screenings’ at the cinema (with free tea and biscuit no less). I do wonder if by even claiming any of these discounts, you’re telling yourself that you are now officially ‘old’ and it’s better to avoid them altogether and carry on in a blissfully youthful mindset.
It’s the names of these discounts I like. You can just imagine a bunch of 20-something copywriters sitting around trying to come up with age appropriate names for these special perks. ‘What word suggests old without sounding patronising?’...’Let’s think… grey hair..’
‘Got it! Silver Cinema’ (perhaps we should ask for an extra discount for our silver hair?). Not that I want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it does seem strangely old-fashioned to see 60 as the tipping point into the abyss of old age, doesn’t it?
So, as I stride into my 3rd Act, I’m going to set myself the ‘60 challenge’, sixty new things to try before the next birthday rolls around.
Maybe I'll start by going DIY shopping on a Wednesday…. now that would be a new experience.
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