Half the folks I read about as having married, have since come out as gay. Not even thirty years ago, people felt they had to hide who they were. Anyone over forty was considered to be of advanced age, and a rare few were celebrated as looking good “in spite of their years.” IVF was still in its early stages, and as ICSI hadn’t been devised, success rates were low. Gluten was considered good in most cases, and low-fat powdered skim milk was the go! Sexual, domestic, financial, emotional and verbal abuse were rarely discussed. If they were mentioned, it was only in brief commentary, advising the person to seek some form of therapy, though adequate help was scant. The postal service was rushed off it’s feet; the internet and express delivery still a long way off. We thought it marvellous if we could have our film developed in 24 hours, viewing the dodgy pictures we’d taken.
We saw Hollywood stars fall in and out of love, just as we did. Some famous folk sadly succumbed to drugs, alcoholism or other tragedies. If only we had a time machine to warn them! Would they have listened? Would we, had we been approached, regarding impending disaster? Some of the ads and features I came across in the old magazines made me smile and reminisce; some made me glad to be alive right here and now. People can be who they truly are without falling foul of the public or media. They don’t need to announce an engagement or marriage to be accepted. Medical advances have seen everything from cochlear implants transcend from one station (leaving only a minor improvement in hearing), to many, which can be adjusted easily for the individual’s comfort. Laser surgery is a thing, as are insulin pumps and scores of other astounding breakthroughs in medicine. A friend of mine was kept alive via an artifical heart whilst waiting for a transplant in the past five years!
Ageing is celebrated, and we are actually seeing people over forty on catwalks, and in the arts, being revered and heard. We live in an age of self-defrosting fridges, little vaccuums, mobile phones, laptops and the internet. Rather than hiring a huge video cassette, we are able to download a film on our IPads. We are fortunate, to be alive at this time. No more secrets nor shame. We are indeed fortunate.