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Joyce Williams: A Positive Perspective on Ageing

Joyce Williams: A Positive Perspective on Ageing

What have we done to the word “OLD”? What is going on that we have let ourselves hear someone else’s view of our lives?  Others say that getting older is a bad thing, and we are letting ourselves believe it! It’s time for a positive perspective on ageing.

Of course it isn’t a bad thing! Getting old means you have made it, got through to the bonus years. Lived a lot, learned a lot and, most of all, can now see life in perspective.

To most people’s surprise turning 70 is a great pleasure. A sense of freedom. You know who you are, you feel comfortable in your own skin. You know what you like and what you don’t, what you are willing to do and what you will say ‘no’ to is your choice. Love that!

It is liberating to realise that it’s the person and their joy in life that matters, the twinkles, not wrinkles. They are quite irrelevant.

You are the same person as at 6, 16, 36 and 66, but you are so much more experienced! Have learned to cope, get through and go on, recreate life and explore its next stages.

Almost everyone says, don’t they, “Loved my younger years, but wouldn’t want to be that age again.” Yes, we can’t do everything we did then, but some things are better. Sex for example. You have the time, the know-how and have totally stopped fretting about bodies. Just enjoy.

Interesting new research confirms this. If you totally ignore the idea of old as meaning you are heading downhill and keep on living positively, you can live 7.5 years longer and can go on growing as a person.

Some people keep on with their physical hobbies and push their own boundaries. Others stretch their minds, stay curious, start new interests, take up fresh challenges. Even new careers!  I took up blogging for fun at 80 and wrote about the positive side of getting old. Now at 85, I seem to have become a go-to person for media comments about ageing! Weird, but such fun.

What the long-lived active people are doing is not thinking about ‘staying young’, not even considering it! But getting on with this next stage of life and all the gains it brings. Emotional maturity, toughness, recognising what really makes for life happiness.

We older people are very good at adjusting aren’t we? Focus going? Get glasses. Have a cataract operation. Replace hips or knees and go back to golf or even skiing. We just cope, don’t we?

The value of friends and curiosity about life becomes so clear. If we can, we travel. If not, we Google! And nowadays, we Zoom. Mixing with other people and other generations is fun, especially if we have shared interests. My friends have all moved clubs, classes and Bridge online since Covid. Oddly, they are now seeing more of each other and making new friends! Social life with peers and people matters.

Most realise too the sense in making life easier. Not to give in or be lazy, but to free up time and energy for hobbies, friends and family. We were lucky, and managed to give up an old Victorian house with 77 steps (up, down and into the garden) and find a flat with a lift and balcony. Now enjoying 24 plants instead of a garden! Lucky too with a great community spirit.

So to go back to the beginning. Why are we letting the word ‘OLD’ be something to worry about? How silly is that?

It is a gain, not a loss. A normal stage of all our lives, if we are lucky, where we mature, consolidate all our life experience and continue to grow. Something to be proud of. It’s time for a positive perspective on ageing!

 

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