You can't box me in

You can't box me in

Our Culture & Lifestyle editor Daniela Soave shares one of the richest life lessons she’s learned: that there’s always time to discover new passions, whatever age we are.

You’ll be pleased to know that recent research confirms the over-50s are more individualistic and less tribally driven than their younger counterparts. Contrary to being stuck in a rut, as we get a little older, we’re more likely to start a new business, travel, learn new things, spend time online and even more regularly participate in sport.

Shout it from the rooftops!

The age-old concept of the generation gap is dead, not least because in the 21st century we consume pretty much the same culture as 20-year-olds. Who’s to say that just because we’re not 20 any more we can’t enjoy music festivals, take up novel writing or start training for a marathon?
As Melanie Haslam of Wise Branding, the company that commissioned the report, points out, “The over-50s live more active lives than ever before and are in fact mentally and physically 10 years ‘younger’ than they were 10 years ago.
“They have money to spend, more time to use, and [they have] needs as ‘single’ people without children again.”

There’s always time to try something new

If you’re feeling pigeonholed by an invisible force that thinks it knows what makes you tick, tell it where to go!
There’s never been a better time to do what you want, whether it’s to visit a country that’s long been on your wish list, to learn to ride a horse, play the saxophone or join an amateur dramatic society.
Such activities give us the opportunity to enjoy new experiences, make new friends and expand our horizons.
The idea that our cultural taste should atrophy gets my teeth gnashing. If finding new films, books and music to love is part of who you are, the switch doesn’t just magically turn itself off one day.

The upsides of breaking free

My friend Jane, to celebrate a big birthday, went off on a sponsored hike up Mount Kilimanjaro. She now spends her holidays visiting new friends in far-flung places.
Another chum started a food festival that celebrates local produce and draws visitors from several neighbouring counties. It’s become a much-loved annual event.
And on a smaller – but no less enjoyable – scale, someone else I know organised a monthly film club that operates on much the same lines as a book group. Instead of reading the prescribed book, members watch a nominated DVD and meet to discuss. As for me, every summer come rain (mud) or shine, you’ll find me in a field at my favourite music festival.
My point is: it’s good not to limit yourself or let others put you in a box.


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My tips for making your escape!

If you’re in a bit of a cultural slump, get your mojo moving.

Music Try switching radio stations. I particularly recommend BBC 6Music (digital or online) if you want to hear something new. Ask friends and family to send you Spotify playlists. Or read reviews on Amazon.

Books More and more independent bookshops are organising their own events. Go hear authors talk about their new work: meet like-minded people and enjoy a generous discount if you’re tempted to buy the book. Likewise, literary festivals are burgeoning. And big chains such as Waterstones and Foyles display staff recommendations on their shelves.

Film Scour local papers for film groups and repertory cinemas that screen classics and independent films. If you are a drama fan but live far from a theatre, look out for live screen events that simultaneously broadcast theatre/opera/ballet into cinemas worldwide.

Art Museums and galleries are wising up to the fact that curated talks are a winner. I’ve found it’s a fabulous way to learn more about an artist and also enjoy a less crowded visit to the exhibition, and often these talks are free.

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I love visiting museums and galleries. It's always very interesting learning something new and finding out about our history and people.

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I have been single for four years now, and I have always wanted to be independent and not having to ask or rely on others. In August last year after years of being on a housing list, I have managed to rent a house. It is in a state to say the least, but I have enjoyed decorating so far, even though the walls are terrible. I am going to buy myself a tool kit and teach myself the basics of diy. Also, I need to get curtains and poles to put up, exciting stuff.

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I wanted to try something new so signed up for a mindfulness meditation group. Its been really great. its helped me balance the stress of daily life and help my anxiety. I've met some really lovely people as well through the group and we're talking about going to Portugal in Oct for a yoga retreat. I would never have done something like this afew years ago. Now I feel more open to new ideas.

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What a really interesting article! I am in my early 50's not that I feel it! I've found being a singleton I enjoy the freedom that only age and experience can give you. I will wake up, check the weather like I always do, using my eyes and feet by walking to the nearest window. Then without consulting anyone to seek approval or accommodating someone else's wishes I make a decision on what I want to do, and off I GO! I found the older you get the more likely I will try something new.

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Some Great ideas there and can identify a lot with the article. I have just renewed my provisional license and I am going to learn to drive.

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