I recently celebrated my 60th birthday. Actually, if we’re being honest, I’m still celebrating it! So there’s been some lovely mail received in the last week or so.
That is until I received an invitation to participate in the UK’s national bowel cancer screening programme. Deep joy eh? That then reminded me of the text I received earlier this year from my dentists, inviting me to book an appointment for their new wrinkle reduction treatment. Lovely! Like my creaky back and knees aren’t already telling me I’m older …
So, what are the joys of getting older? And I’m not being sarky or snarky – I really do mean what joys does ageing bring?
Well, for one, I’m old enough to have become a grandparent. And that is truly a great joy. Seeing my much loved only daughter holding her daughter in her arms is a depth of pleasure quite without measure. Seeing her, her husband and my little granddaughter together is bliss. They are all so utterly bessotted with each other, it is quite the most wonderful sight.
So what else is there? Well, I feel entirely relaxed doing what I call the “young man” thing in shops. Rather than waste massive amounts of time searching for that elusive item which I’ve not been able to find in five minutes, I turn to a member of staff … and ask. I know, shocking isn’t it? ;o) But, you know what, the grey hair makes them more than happy to help, it really does … and I feel I’m ensuring that shop assistants remain needed, rather than being replaced with machines which, after all, are no damn use at finding odd items.
I don’t pretend to be anything I’m not (and I used to). I prefer to be liked, but I won’t tie myself up in knots to achive it. When I started to internet date at the grand old age of 50, I was unusual in my age group that I didn’t dye my hair, wear shape-changing/enhancing underwear, didn’t lie about my age or size, whether I drank, smoked, or about my likes and dislikes. And yet, for years, I’d maintained a front. In fact, you’d have been hard pressed not to believe I was an entirely confident person (I’m not). But I’ve learned to accept myself – faults ‘n all. Of course, I’m still polite and courteous, it’s just that my people like me for being me.
An important component of that is learning to be content in my own company. Only ten years ago, I’d never lived on my own. The thought was absolutely terrifying. Now the thought of having no time alone is a sobering one. Growing older and physically fragile is tiresome, even a little scary, but no quiet time is a way worse prospect. I wonder if that means I’ve finally grown-up? I like that better than grown-old …
As part of that pleasing myself thing, I’m considering re-locating and have been investigating possible areas against a list of criteria. That list contains the usual stuff: price of accommodation, proximity to major road network, good (reasonably fast) rail service into London and one unusual criteria – the right type of chiropractor. Yes, you heard me. In the past, the right hairdresser mattered more, but now I’d be perfectly content to travel a couple of hours every couple of months for a hair cut. But not a chiropractor. It’s not the maintenance visits that are an issue, it’s how close they are when things go wrong. Sitting in a car when my back is in spasm ranges from utterly impossible, through horribly painful, to causing greater harm. So, the right chiropractor, within a short driving distance is an issue.
I know there’ll be many of you reading this who will be thinking that chiropractic is a load of old nonsense, to be ranked alongside homeopathy. Well, my logical brain would agree with you. But traditional medicine offered me nothing other than painkillers or bedrest for my back troubles whilst (the right) chiropractic has permitted me to live a reasonably normal life. And … whilst I’m being proudly hippy-dippy about it, there are homeopathic remedies which I swear by – because of their efficacy. Both were originally old herbal remedies and we know how many current drugs are derived from plantlife, don’t we? So whilst I’m being called foolish, I smile, take my remedies and feel better.
See? Older, wiser, content …
How do you regard getting older? If negatively, would you be willing to consider how that could be changed?