It Will Never Come Again

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This week I was in the car with Molly. It’s always a good chance to spend some time with her and we started chatting about elderly friends and relatives. She was obviously wondering from the bounciness of youth what it’s like to be old and she asked me what initially seemed like a simple question. ‘Mum,’ she said curiously, ‘Do you feel like you’ve lived a long time?’

This was surprisingly hard to answer. My first reaction was to say, ‘No,’ but that seemed silly as I evidently have lived for quite a long time. Then I realised that this kneejerk feeling comes from the fact that for much of the time, I don’t feel properly grown-up. In my head I’m still waiting to get to that elusive state.

 

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I clearly have a problem as I read recently that a life insurance provider asked 2,000 people to say what they thought marked the transition into adulthood. The most common answers were buying a first home, becoming a parent and getting married. Other signs of being grown up were paying into a pension, becoming house proud, taking out life insurance, looking forward to a night in, doing DIY, hosting dinner parties, and having a joint bank account. I’m 56 and I’ve done all of these things (with varying degrees of enthusiasm)—but I still keep expecting to be outed as a pretend grown up.

I think that much of my grownupness deficit comes from Continue reading

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A Difference of Opinion

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Last week I went to see the film, Suffragette. I thought it was understated and moving, and it reminded me of the debt that we all owe to the brave women who fought for a fairer society. The film ends with the death of Emily Wilding Davison who threw herself in front of the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913. But that was not the end of the fight; this particular battle for equality was protracted and fierce—it took until 1928 for women in Great Britain and Northern Ireland to be granted equal voting rights with men.

At the end of the film, the audience is reminded that this was an international struggle, and many countries were slower than the United Kingdom in giving women the vote. The International Woman Suffrage Alliance was formed in 1904 but it took until 1971 for Swiss women to be granted suffrage, and Saudi women have only, this year, been promised the vote.

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The film also reminded me of something I learned when I visited the Statue of Liberty a few years ago. Continue reading