As I was outlining my plans for this weekend the other day, I realised that even though I don’t turn fifty for another few weeks, I’ve already fully embraced the reality of it ‘A fairtrade event at New Nearest Village on Saturday, then on Sunday it’s Potato Day, and we might fit in a trip to the garden centre.”
I’m not even going to pretend I’m embarrassed about it. As my contemporaries announce their impending half centuries with disbelief, I’m not all that bothered about it – much less so than turning forty or, worse, thirty. And besides, I like garden centres, and I always have (as a seven-year-old there was one at the top of our road and I was always spending my pocket money on packets of seeds). I completely failed to misspend my youth, unless by misspending you mean settling down, getting married, buying a house and working long hours to develop my career, instead of going out partying all night and smashing the patriarchy and/or capitalism by day (possibly I should have done more about the latter). My hope is that this precocious diligence (and a fair bit of luck and privilege) has set me up for a later life of growing radicalism and increased trouble making rather than sinking into the status quo. The bicycle may not have kept me as young as I might have hoped, but it has at least helped keep me at odds enough to mainstream society to want to fight for change – while my advancing years might just give me the wisdom (or cunning) to achieve it.
And besides, as a woman approaching fifty AND a cyclist, I should now be effectively invisible both on and off the bike. Of all the superpowers, that’s surely the most powerful one there is. I just have to work out how to put it to best use.