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Thoughts on Ageing

Drawing by Tracy Emin. On Ageing: It’s a reality. I’m not dreading it. I’m just saying here it comes, and I better be prepared.

Tracey Emin

I was reading an interview with Tracey Emin (British contemporary artist, part of the YBAs) in the NYT today. She talk about ageing, saying that:

"When you’re 20 or 30, looking ahead, you see these benchmarks for relationships, career, ambition, sexuality, and they went off into infinity. When you get to 50, you look at what’s ahead of you, and there’s an end. It goes into a nothingness, a void." 

What she said really got to me. Maybe it's because I've just celebrated another birthday (note: when you're in your 20s, DO NOT complain about getting 'old' to anyone other than friends your own age. Unless if you don't mind having "shut the fuck up!" screamed at you). Either way, I start feeling a bit uneasy at times just facing the fact that I have to, one day, deal with the reality of ageing. 

What I’ve realised is that youth is a privilege. I'm not talking about a youthful mentality because so many people stay young at heart. I guess it's more about realising that the excuses you were allowed, the special treatment you received has come to an end. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a person is, a 40-year-old can compete with an 18-year-old. He or she can never capture the allure of youth with its expectation, potential, and perky bosomsWhen you're middle aged, everyone is one the same playing field (or play ground) again. Everyone racks up a set of skills, credentials, and worldliness and it's those things that matter. The game changes you have to be ready for it. Unfortunately, this is so much more the case for women than it is for men.

So maybe the best thing to do is enjoy your youth but at the same time keeping in mind that a lot of what we thing is important now is fleeting. I don't know - what do you guys think?