35 and Free

I guess I must have been turning 35 when I wrote this…which makes it 1980 or so….. 35 at that time we saw as quite a turning point…. it was like really becoming a super adult….. has that changed??? AOme comments would be nice…can see page views increasing but no comments….so please do … pretty please…….
                                                                  35 AND – FREE
“I cried the night I became thirty years old”, recalls a thirty eight old woman. “It seems as if all the good years of life had gone. ‘Oh to be twenty again,’ I wailed. To be young, to feel fresh, as if the whole world was just waiting for you…”
“But, believe it or not, I’m really enjoying myself as never before. I feel so confident today about what I want in my job, in my life, in my relationships. The dreams and illusions of my twenty years old phase have been replaced by a reality that is I. I used to live in a fantasized, imaginary world of how fantastic things could be— well, things never were all that great, so there was always dissatisfaction. Today, I feel that I know my limitations and those of the social situation, so there is less dissatisfaction.
Youth is something that is totally glamorized by today’s society. Women, especially, look anxiously at the mirror to watch for signs of approaching age. Every wrinkle will be noticed and every cream in the market will be tested to see if the look of youth can be retained, every hair examined for the single white one to be pulled out (and, in the later stages, to be dyed).
Ads tell us how life is exacting when we are young and carefree. Particularly for women, age is something to be fended off. For men, age brings experience, knowledge and power. Age makes a man mature, more desirable. But for women, it is just something different— women are brought up to feel that their beauty is their most desirable asset. For them, years do not bring experience and knowledge, they only mean ageing.
“I was brought with the feeling that my beauty and my youth were all that was me,” recalls a 35 year old teacher at a college, “but for me turning 35 was a liberating experience. I began to free myself from all that I was brought up to believe. I began to feel as if I was a person in my own right, not just an ornament that ‘looked nice’. I feel society makes us women feel as if the way we look is the most important thing. So we feel that other aspects, like thirst for knowledge, are less important. We all fall prey to this thinking and so moan when we no longer look nice.”
“I feel liberated because suddenly I realized that it was all untrue— I didn’t have to look nice to be somebody, and that changed the whole way I looked at myself.”
Turning 35 seems to be the end of one stage of living, and acceptance of certain facts that one will not try to change anymore.
“For 15 years, ever since I was 20, my people were after me to get married,” recalls a woman lawyer. “They just could not accept the fact I wanted to remain single. I have seen too many unhappy marriages in which the women could not develop, to let the same happen to me. Now, finally, people have stopped asking me to just see this boy, and no one makes statements like ‘you are quite good looking, why you don’t get married?’”
“I feel a change in my relationships with other men and women also.  Earlier, married women were afraid of me.   They felt that I was trying to get their husbands away.   Men also used to be scared:   ‘is she trying to get me involved?’ they wondered.   Now, these fears do not occur.   They have accepted that I want to be unmarried, that I am not trying to get a man.   Thus they are more relaxed with me and we can really be friends.”
At work also, life seems to change.   “It has taken me a long time to learn my own limitations and to understand what I can do and what I can’t.   I feel that, earlier, I used my so-called ‘womanly charms’ to get things done.  I was insecure about my own abilities.   “Now I no longer have to do such things.   I feel I know what I have to do and I know how to do it.   I feel much more secure about my position and myself.   My work life has become much more satisfying to me.”
A married woman says,  “I see the years 20-30 as the most difficult period in my life.   I had just got married to the boy I loved.   After two years, we started having children-in five years, three children.   We had such a difficult period in our relationship at that time.  It was as if we had no time for each other, he didn’t like coming home after work to crying children;  I was just dying for some companionship and fun.
“Now the most difficult years are over, the children are going to school.   At 35, I am going back to studies.  My husband and I are communicating and sharing the way we once used to.   For a married woman, being over 35 is much more fun.”
Another woman maintained.   “I nearly went through a nervous breakdown when I turned 35-the children do longer needed me and I felt so worthless.   I felt I had given up my life for them, and now what?   I became really depressed and couldn’t talk to anyone about it.   Oh yes, we all used to joke with our friends that we were getting old-but I used to go home and feel so depressed.   I couldn’t do anything.   I finally went to a psychotherapist who helped me to put the pieces of my life together and made me see that there was more to life than children.   I feel that the way we are brought up, without interests of our own, creates a crisis when women become older.  If, from the start, I had seen that I was an individual, I don’t think I would have gone through such a difficult time.”
Thirty five-a time of crisis and change in a woman’s life – crisis often because social conditioning has made us feel that our beauty is gone.   Crisis role is only that of the mother, and when that role is over, we feel empty.
But of change also.  Because.  At 35 comes the realization that as women we are capable of much more, and this can give us confidence in ourselves and strength in our own abilities.  It can become a period in which we are no longer being persuaded and pressurised by society to fulfill the roles that society expects of women, but can try and live out our own ideas about what we want to become and be.  A late start, no doubt, but the chance, at least, if we take it, of making a start.
Thirty five no longer has to be seen with fear, the fear of ageing, of being worthless.
“Don’t forget to mention.” A woman adds, “That for the first time, I felt sexually secure.  I had a sterilization and there was no, longer the fear of pregnancy.”
Thirty five-I am looking forward to that milestone.   Here I come ….

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