Last week I met up with my friend Jeanine, her parents and my mother for lunch at Eikendal in the Winelands. Jeanine’s family and mine grew up together, her sister Sharon is my best friend from school and we spent most of our teenage lives at each other’s houses. We’ve stayed in touch through the years and our friendships have blossomed. So it’s always nice to get together with the parents for a catch up.
Inevitably, we are all getting older and our parents are now in their 70s and getting close to 80, with varying health issues. I turned 50 last year and our lunch at Eikendal, along with other conversations over the last few months have made me think, how old is old? Should I feel old?
I don’t feel 50 (whatever that feels like), am pretty fit and healthy enough. Okay, I have my limitations. I’m not up for going clubbing until all hours (not that I ever really was) and am certainly not entering into anything that’s going to scare the shit out of me like bungee jumping or leaping out of a plane. But I can party with the best of them (okay the hangovers are worse), I’m the first one to book Lady Gaga tickets or try out a new comedy club or hiking trail (as long as the route isn’t too hectic).
I have a variety of friends ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s – yes I do have several good friends who are in their early 20s. I don’t behave differently when I’m with any of them and there’s no thought of age or the fact that there may be decades between us – either up or down. I like that , enjoy the interaction with different people who have different attitudes and am always open to hear what they have to say. The world is different now compared to a couple of generations ago when you had to fit into your age bracket without flexibility. We’re freer to be who we want to be without checking your number every day before you decide what to wear, where to go or how to behave. Thank goodness!
On the other hand, I’m sad to say, I have been encountering more and more of an ageist attitude recently. People say at a party (to everyone) that I’m over 50 (even though I’m not even 51 yet, which I’m always at pains to point out) – and make it sound like I’m 100! More and more frequently people talk over me or even ignore me when clearly I am the more knowledgeable person on the subject in the room! I find it very frustrating and it’s hard not to become sensitive about it all.
And then there’s the whole other (more annoying) conversation about people who look so much older than they are (not sure by whose standards). And more importantly why does it matter? All I want to do is embrace life and make the most of it without dwelling on something I can’t change. It’s not like if I’d lived my life differently I’d be younger now, is it? What do you think? That’s better, I’ve got it all off my (50-year-old) chest.
So let’s get back to enjoying the great restaurants in the Cape Town environs. We went to Eikendal last year – the same group of people and really enjoyed it – so this year it had to be repeated. You sit in a lovely garden under the trees overlooking their dam. Jeanine phoned ahead to ask if they could move a table and chairs out from the dining area for us to help ease the pain of various people’s back problems (yes, there are inevitably health issues as you get older). They didn’t hesitate and when we arrived there was our table under the shade, we felt like the king of the castle.
We ordered a mix of starters and mains, all to come at the same time. Everything looked beautiful and tasted just as good. Enjoy the stunning pictures.
Lovely to spend time with these special people, as ever and enjoy a delicious lunch. Oh and their Chardonnay is truly delicious, whatever your age!
I’d love to know what you think, please let me know.