You can’t do that! You’re over 50, stupid!

How many of us of a certain age have had this sort of thing said to us; often by friends and relatives, or the media. How strange then that,in a world which seems to daily challenge long held rules and customs, older people are being constrained in their activities or in what they wear by some long held arbitrary boundaries. A letter writer to the Sunday Independent was recently sufficiently moved to have a ‘rant’ about this in response to an article in that paper (published August 5,2012). Eleanor Coggins in the article had asked the two questions: “Should I embrace my inner pensioner?” and “When do I let the hair grow 50 shades of grey,wear twinsets and flesh-coloured tights?”

The writer was robust in her response. She remembers rules and criticisms from parents,teachers and community as a 16 year-old. Her hair was too short, or it was too long … Boyfriend was too old, and her hot pants too hot! Although high-fashion magazines say that women over 50 should never do this or that, she is determinedly going to embrace absurdity (she has decided to buy a pair of shiny red platform sandals) with the same brazen attitude she showed when she wore her much maligned green plastic platform shoes so many years ago.

It is probably true that many people, men and women, of a certain age, wear a kind of uniform dress code which can tend to define their age group. But if they break-out , and  wear what they feel best in, should they not be encouraged? This should also apply to activities where, within the physical and mental capacity,they should sky-dive, skinny-dip in the ocean, travel the world, join an amateur dramatic society,go to pubs and clubs, and so on.

I’m with the writer of the letter to the Independent. These pages will frequently return to this theme, and to give current news and ideas for breaking the ‘mould’.

So,where are you on this? Let me know.I’d love to hear from you.


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