It's finally come! That blissful condition where I don’t care any longer about what others think of me. Apparently it was due to start when I hit forty, “Life Begins” etc. but it took much longer than advertised as I am now the healthy but middling age of 51, but I think I’ve reached the heady pinnacle. According to some, I have “let myself go”.
The evidence? I wear jogging bottoms or leggings most days to the supermarket, and don’t care. I don’t care if you think my bum looks big in them or if you even look at my bum or not, they are comfy, and I am probably wearing them because I’m on my way to the gym, or on my way back.
It turns out I now don’t care about anyone’s opinion of me, except for one: Jenny Joseph. The poet, Jenny Joseph, who wrote this brilliant poem back in 1992 when I was a mere 22 year old. I hope that she thinks my metamorphosis into the red hat wearing old woman has begun, she sounds like a lot of fun. Fun isn’t something most of us have been having for a while, and I think that it is also time to redress the balance.I think at the time when I first read this poem that I already knew what was coming in my future. The red hat, the purple, and the slippers, I have them all.
Warning, by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Some might flinch at the statement that I have “let myself go”, but this isn’t necessarily a negative, if someone says it to you, then perhaps you could view it as a recognition of freedom, a liberation from the concerns of what rules you may or may not be breaking. My new status means that I am at liberty to explore pretty much everything I have ever wanted to do but didn’t for fear of “what it might look like” to others. Who cares what other people think? I did. But life is too short for this, there is only time for adventures.
So, where shall we begin? I’m thinking about cliff jumping, caving, riding a horse across the mountains of Mallorca, trying out new looks, experimenting with clothes, learning how to do a handstand, and how to tell a good wine from a bad wine, I’d like to pet an ostrich, and go on the roof of Palma Cathedral. The plan is to do all of these and tell you lot about them as well. What do you think? Let me know about all of the adventures that you want to have and perhaps we can do them together! Ask yourself, if success was guaranteed, what would YOU do?
You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org