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Act my age? No thanks.

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I hate that expression. What does it mean to act 40?

No one has ever told me this outright to “act my age”. Society has influenced me into¬†telling it to myself and I’ve semi bought in.

I’m 39 years young. After ten years of self employment I’m back in the corporate workforce. Just before I started my new job I had to go out and purchase a whole new wardrobe. I realized my Lululemon yoga pants probably wouldn’t cut it anymore. It’s such a shame because they are the most comfortable pants EVER. (Lululemon if you’re listening – please make more clothes that can pass as business casual, thanks).

Where was I? Oh yes, so it hurt me to sacrifice person style and comfort in order to conform to what I thought was expected of me as an “adult” business woman. The wound was partially self inflicted I know. Nobody made me, I did it myself. “Business woman”, yuck, I can’t even stand to call myself that.

I haven’t conformed completely though. Just enough to get by.

You won’t find me in a suit unless there’s a funeral (OK maybe a job interview). I’ll occasionally sport hello kitty jewelry and I love anything cute from Japan. I don’t own pantyhose and I promise you I never will. Sure my shoes are comfortable, but they aren’t your grandma’s comfy shoes, if you know what I mean.

We all have our stress life issues to deal with. Family, money, health and relationship problems plague the best of us. I’m surrounded by women roughly my age in similar situations but when I compare myself to them I somehow feel like a kid. I have all the same (sometimes more) responsibilities, yet I really feel like they are older than I am. Many look older and seem to act quite conservatively and I can’t figure out why. Maybe its a fear of showing coworkers that they might actually have a personality.

But there is something else that makes them old. Their spark has gone. I’ve figured this out because I noticed that when I compare the difference between them and myself, I become very aware that I still have some spark left.

What is that spark? For me personally it’s creativity, the desire to do something new, to express myself through design, art, writing, making jewelry etc. Work-wise, the spark comes through in that I actually do care about my clients and the work I put out there. I still constantly think about what I can do to help them and what new ventures await me.

I don’t have a fear of failing. We all fail here and there, it’s just part of life. I enjoy starting new businesses, going after what I want, having lofty goals and asking more of myself. Trying something produces a positive learning experiences. So many of us talk and talk and never actually “do”.

With almost 40 years behind me now, I can say and do things with more confidence. I’m still pretty up on pop culture. This interest is what helps me, as a creative director stay current. Without it, you’d never last in such a rapidly changing world. You’ve just gotta keep up with the “kids today “.

I believe I¬†am acting my age, it’s just not the 40 that others may expect. What a ridiculous thing to say! Act your age. Why would anyone ever want to act old? Youthfulness is a good thing. It doesn’t imply irresponsibility or lack of professionalism. It is an addition to your maturity.

Sorry, but this is how a 40 year old acts.

Sara Purves
Sara attended the Claude Watson School for the Arts, a prestigious Toronto based high school for gifted creative students. She then moved on to the Ontario College of Art and Design for 4 years where she majored in Environmental Design. After graduation in 1993, Sara pursued many creative arenas including: retail store design, fashion design, had gallery exhibitions of her paintings, and volunteered in many areas of the arts before settling into a career in graphic design. Sara was employed as art director and graphic designer at several well known advertising agencies and creative design shops where she worked with a variety of clients. Sara is also someone who’s unwillingly entered early perimenopause and muddles her way through frustrations and solutions.

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