Looking in the mirror is always a bit of a shock but then my brain smoothes out the image and I look more as I did at 25. From inside, I am 25, just a bit past my prime. Pictures are worse. Caught at the wrong angle, every wrinkle, line, and age blotch is emphasized. Who is that old woman?
I do have wrinkles, a lot of them. These days I like to think they match the wrinkles in my cerebral cortex, where they are an advantage. There the more wrinkles, the more intelligence. I can still fire on all cylinders.
Ageism is an issue and I don’t like to tell people how old I am. My hope is that they’re bad at math and my sparkling wit make me a young person with pre-mature lines. I have no idea if this “ruse” works but reading “Bolder-making the most of our longer lives” has given me hope.
Across Europe and in major corporations (tech among them), the expertise and experience of older people is appreciated. Oldsters are participating in sports, intellectual pursuits, and entrepreneurship. It turns out the aging brain and body is capable of a lot more that they are given credit for. The image of the grannie knitting in the corner and the doddering grampa with bad jokes, is being replaced by an entirely different concept. There are DJs in their 80’s hosting rap dances to audiences where people, 60, 70, and 80 cavort with the younger crowd. People continue to work past the usual retirement age because they want to. Some of them start entirely new endeavors.
All of this is encouraging to someone like me who has passed certain chronological mileposts. I feel more positive about taking part in my voluntary positions and can be more vocal. My ideas are still good. I continue to walk and exercise. Doing my own housework, yard work, and other chores are things to keep me in shape. I have to be thankful for good health.
Attitudes to the “aged” are changing so that the only options for older people are NOT leaders of the “free world” or dictators of third world regimes. Slowly we are gaining respect and stereotypes are proven wrong.
The bonuses of getting old remain. One of my great joys is my two grandkids who are becoming more interesting as time passes. So far, they are good individuals with their own interests and skills. I have the time to pursue interests without concern about what other people think. The blog? Is it a waste of time? Maybe but I like it. I do some watercolour painting. The pursuit of ladies? Could be but it’s fun and there’s a group of like-minded people who meet in my small town. I’ve always been a reader; with more time I can read more challenging books, if I want. I can write letters to editors, MLAs, MPs. I have to time to make Telus more honest in its dealings with me.
It turns out the golden years are so far, so good. Statistics show older people are happy with their lot unless they have serious health or financial issues. Settling of your place in family and community have a lot to do with it. I can sit and smell the flowers if that’s what I want.