Why do I Keep Telling People My Age?
Why do I keep telling people my age?. I don’t know when it started. just remember being at work one-day and noticing that I’d told somebody my age. It’s not like I’d ever been shy or inhibited about sharing this information but I was pretty sure I did not usually broadcast it without being asked. Randomly telling people my age definitely felt like a new thing!
Over time I became conscious that I was doing it more and more. I felt embarrassed about it but I just couldn’t control it. It would slip out of my mouth and I’d have said it before I could suck it back in. Then of course when people did oblige with the required surprise and exclamation of “surely you can’t be!” I was briefly rewarded for my disclosure followed by further feeling of awkwardness.
Why was I doing it?
I am sure people weren’t really interested. Just being terribly polite. It didn’t make a difference to my job. It didn’t make a difference to the task we were doing but suddenly I needed to announce it like a badge of honour. I remember thinking.. Did everybody do this? Is it just me? This is what old women do. It’s what my Gran did…yes… BUT WHEN SHE WAS 90 !
Then I also realised that I’d been making myself older than I actually was. At the grand old age of 48 I’d been telling people I was nearly 50 for over a year. So not only was I gratuitously telling people my age I was actually making myself older ! [insert face palm]
Why was I forgetting to actually live the age I was?
Was I anticipating the future doom of my 50s. What was it about being 50 that had suddenly grabbed my attention?
At the time I did nothing to understand why this was happening. I ignored it. Overall things were going great; I had a dream of a job, I had achieved my personal goals, I was financially comfortable, was enjoying helping others. But I was working hard, doing crazy hours, inside I knew something was wrong, somehow slipping. It just didn’t feel real or complete. I wasn’t present in my own life, my own success.
I was living in a whirlwind just dealing with a never ending list of priorities, back to back meetings all day, endless torrents of emails and in an environment where if you didn’t respond quickly colleagues took issue. My personal life was also suffering. I was so tired I was basically a zombie on auto pilot. So as always I was hard on myself; I needed to work harder and be better at everything!
I am quite a self aware person, yet despite picking up on these changes, I just watched from the sideline and mutely let events unfold. Other things had started to happen, I was irritable, emotional, easily frustrated, my memory became ridiculously unreliable and I was so very tired all the time.
I have never been good at asking for help. For anything. (The reasons behind that are probably a whole different article). I need to prove I can do things, that I am capable. Asking for help felt like I wasn’t good enough. So when I did finally ask for help, I was in deep.
Finally I spoke to my GP and started to understand I was Peri-menopausal. Who even knew that existed? I didn’t and neither did my wife or my friends. I started to take Vitamin D to help with the fatigue (basically I was an Oompa Loompa who rarely saw daylight) and accepted I needed to seek therapy.
Big changes happened to my life, which have been challenging. But I have making new friends, reconnected with old ones, rediscovered my love of the sea and beach time, and I am finally giving myself permission to explore life, find me and feel Joy. The support of one or 2 special people made all the difference. I have become more informed about menopause and thankfully over the last year the media have also really picked up this topic. Typically, I just wish I had found the help I needed much sooner.
So now, sitting with a coffee, locked in for Covid on a rainy, cold Sunday, I am wondering what what was I really telling myself when I started to verbally declare my age? I don’t think I was worried about the age itself, I’ve not really been worried about any other age but it was something about turning 50 that clearly made a difference.
Was I just gratuitously seeking compliments? Trying to claim respect by virtue of experience or longevity? Was I insecure or was it a mix of hormones and midlife that was prodding me to wake up. Like many people I had never really thought about being middle aged. I don’t think I look 50 but I had started to feel old. Worrying about dementia (my memory was not helping with this fear). I wasn’t ready.
I played the game of 50 is the new 40. Well now it is here, looming. 1 week to go. No escape now. So what have I learned from the last year?
Well I still have lots to work on and figure out. I still have anxiety and doubts but I feel lucky to have this chance to recharge and I am excited about what opportunities and experiences lie ahead.
- If you or your friends notice your behaviour changing don’t ignore it or dismiss it. Talk to someone and explore what’s behind it.
- Spotting things early is really important, so you can understand what’s happening, make changes or get support if needed.
- Defiantly ploughing on regardless and pushing through, is not strong. It ends up hurting you and the people around you.
- Take time to invest in yourself. Understand yourself. You may not like everything you learn but you will feel better.
- Forgive yourself for not being perfect
Getting support is not weakness it is liberating.
- Plan ahead – keep reviewing what’s important for you and what you want from life. Then look after it or go get it.
What changes have your noticed in your behaviour lately?
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