For me, the single girl lifestyle that I embraced and celebrated with so much enthusiasm in the Eighties and Nineties has lost much of its gloss, and is starting to look a little hollow. I was part of the Sex And The City generation — successful, feisty women who made their own money, answered to no one and lived life to the full....When one is young, it is very, very hard to imagine that things will not always be, more or less, as they are now. But being more involved in athletics, men tend to be far more aware of the fact that one day, things will change and they will not be able to run and jump as they can now. They know the price of age. Every guy who plays any sports, even casually, knows the old guy who can't drive to the hoop or defend anyone anymore, but can still hit from three, and realizes that one day, if he's lucky, that will be him. I remember being in my twenties, talking to the guys in their forties at the gym, and marveling at how they were still pretty strong despite never seeming to do very much in the weight room anymore.
What none of us spent too long thinking about in our 20s and 30s was how our lifestyles would impact on us once we reached middle-age, when we didn’t want to go out and get sozzled on cocktails and had replaced our stilettos and skinny jeans with flat shoes and elasticated waists. When I look around at all my single friends — and there are a lot of them — not one of them is truly happy being on her own. Suddenly, all those women we pitied for giving up their freedom for marriage and children are the ones feeling sorry for us....
Any man who didn’t conform was to be kicked to the curb until the next poor sap came along. What I never considered, though, was that one day they’d stop coming along altogether. I really wish I’d known that once you’re in your late 30s, men are pretty thin on the ground. And once you’re in your 40s, it’s as though they’ve been wiped off the face of the Earth.
They just laughed and assured me that one day, I'd understand. In your twenties, you're at your peak and you don't need any recovery time. In your thirties, you lose your speed and your ups, and it takes a day to recover. In your forties, you lose your peak strength and it takes you two days to recover. You can still do 90 percent of what you used to do, but you have to listen closely to your body at all times or it's going to break down. You have to take it easy or you'll do nothing at all. And now, twenty years later, it is so clear that they were telling nothing but the truth. Fortunately, because I listened to them, I can still work out, I can still play soccer at a fairly high level, and I can still score goals with a strike rate of around .33 per game. Not bad for one of the oldest guys on the veteran's team.
I don't know if older women have been responsible about telling younger women that their youth, beauty, and fertility are not going to survive their twenties. It seems, from this article, that they have not been. In fact, the younger women still appear to be receiving precisely the opposite message from the media and the older generation alike. Ours is one of the first female generations in human history to actively spurn marriage and children in favor of education and careers, so it is very important for younger women to seek out middle-aged single women and find out if they are genuinely content with their solitary status in middle age and beyond, or if they regret their youthful priorities.
There are, of course, real societal issues that have arisen as a result of this demographic transformation, and they are important, but on the individual level, what will transform the mentality of the younger generation is the personal regrets of those who took the path that they were socially pressured to take.