Just Because…

Today is Just Because day, which gives you the right to do whatever you want, just because you feel like it!

It’s also Women’s Equality Day this week too, and I could write a whole article about that, but I’m not a strong women’s libber, and I don’t feel strongly enough about it. Maybe I’m awkward, but some men aren’t considered equal either, so I prefer to think about us being equal as humans.

However, there are certain things when it comes to other people’s perceptions of me due to my gender and now age, do bug me. 

Just because I’m nearly seventy, why should I be retired?

Should I really have to stop doing the things I love doing?  As long as I have the energy, and the passion for what I do, I intend to continue for as long as I can.

The perception here is partly linked to the last one; why aren’t I at home looking after my grandchildren?  I know plenty of retirees who certainly don’t want to spend all of their time looking after grandchildren now they are free of child-rearing themselves.

Another perception is that you should be making the most of your pension. This supposes you have a large enough pension to live on in today’s climate.  

Many more people of my generation have gone through more divorces than previously and we are now reaching retirement age. There is a fallacy that when you retire, as a woman you are better off.  In some cases, this is true, but also the opposite is true. Many people, having gone through a divorce lose money in the division of property and assets, and at an older age, have to start over again.  For some people, retiring isn’t an option.

Just because I trained for one career why shouldn’t I change direction?

I studied at Music College and went into Music Education, where I worked for 34 years, building a successful career.

Things changed. Politics reared its ugly head, and the focus of the curriculum turned away from the arts. I lost much of the passion I had taken with me into the career, and eventually resigned.

I became a freelance, Professional Photographer, predominantly photographing all things people related. I loved it, and ran my own business from 2008 until lockdown, when I made the decision to end my business.

Now in my third career, I’m an author, a writing mentor and poet, and loving the change.

Just because I am a musician, doesn’t mean I can’t be all these other things too, and get immense satisfaction from them.

The transferable skills are a huge gift, which makes the changes easier, and despite people thinking the careers are all very different – in fact they’re not.

All three careers are in the creative industries, and all three focus on people, and empowering others in a variety of ways.

Just because I’m a woman, why should I have children?  

And following on from that, people now assume that as a woman of a certain age, I must have grandchildren.

I chose not to have children, and when I made that choice in the late 80’s, early 90’s it wasn’t a popular decision.  It was the choice of both myself and my husband at the time, however, we were always being questioned why we hadn’t got children.

The most disturbing thing about that for me is, how dare people make assumptions without knowing our ‘why?’    

It could have been a matter of infertility, or many other reasons, but certainly not anyone’s decision but our own. I have never asked a woman why she doesn’t have children, because I wouldn’t want to cause them heartbreak if they were unable to conceive.

For this reason, I choose to be called Childfree rather than Childless, I think there is a difference. Childless suggests you are lacking something that you would like.

Just because I’ve been married once, why wouldn’t I want to do it again? 

When I met my present husband, we lived together for nine years before marrying.  To begin with, he hadn’t considered marrying, because much of his family are not married, or divorced, and they weren’t good examples of marriage working.

Even my own mother didn’t think we’d get married, because at the time, I was the main earner, and she didn’t think a man should earn less than his wife!

Friends couldn’t understand why we wanted to get married, because we were happy as we were, and we weren’t going to have children – I met him when I was 40.

Personally, I think marriage is an important step.  Saying that you will marry rather than live with someone, in my eyes, is the ultimate sense of commitment.  I may be old-fashioned, but I believe that.

Getting married for us, was the icing on the cake. It has cemented what was already a good relationship into an even stronger one.

We should be allowed to be who we want to be – just because, we can!

A Just Because poem of fun things: