Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 May 2016

There's a reason why we want the good life at that age

Published 25/05/2013

Penelope Keith played Margo in The Good Life
Penelope Keith played Margo in The Good Life

The actress Penelope Keith must be happily married. Only the happily married have the audacity to pass judgment on those who might feel miserable or trapped.

In an interview with Country Life magazine, the 73-year-old star of To The Manor Born and The Good Life blames women who leave their husbands in mid-life for pushing up the house prices.

"It's all those single dwellings, all these women in their fifties and sixties who suddenly want their own space, to be their own people.

"To do what?"

Well, Penelope, where shall I start?

If you have been in an unhappy marriage, this might be your first chance as a woman to escape because the children are older and need you less.

After nearly two decades of putting family first, juggling the work-life balance (which usually just means chronic female fatigue as we do the majority of everything), a woman can be forgiven for feeling that this is now her time.

With better health, a little more money in her bank account and plenty of unfulfilled ambitions, many women understandably want to seize the 'silver' years for their own personal pleasures.

And there is also the chance that they might find a happier relationship second time around before it is too late.

For the great philosophical bonus of midlife is that we also know that this is limited time for us.

The grim reaper, ill-health or adversity could be lurking around the next corner.

In tough times, blame abounds.

In the past, it has perennially been women who have been the first to cop it.

I hope that Ms Keith's remarks are not the sign of what is to come.

Lamentable state of the economy and mass unemployment?

Must be women taking men's jobs.

Poor growth?

Women not shopping enough.

Irrespective of their relationship status, I have no doubt that with more women in mid-life in charge we wouldn't have a housing crisis to begin with.

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