I remember I used to joke with my Mum and say things like “You are getting old” in a teasing sort of way. Now I am of a similar age to what she was and my sons joke that I am getting old. Mum’s response was always, “It sure beats the alternative!”
I have spent a lot of time thinking about ageing in the past twelve months since moving into a “Life-style” retirement village for people over 55. I am looking at this life stage and the changes it brings for myself and for others around me.
For me each decade seems to usher in a new perspective of life. My three sons were born in my twenties. In my thirties I became a sole-parent after my marriage failed. In this period I wanted to change the world! I was very involved in politics and engaged in social issues.
I spent my forties working full-time while raising my three sons. Work gave a new structure to my life and it paid the bills and gave us a good quality of life.
I am now in my fifties and my perspective is changing once again. There is more opportunity to choose how to spend my days. My sons are adults now and working, not living with me any longer.
I am no longer tied to working full-time and I have more time to reflect. I realise I am not alone when I say I don’t feel my age. I have heard it said often by people of all ages. The stereotypes have changed and we dress and think differently than our parents’ generation.
So, how do I age successfully? I wish I knew. I like the idea of having a mentor – someone with experience in ageing well. After all, it is a privilege to get old. Those that do live to an old age have beaten the odds of disease and accidental death. They are the survivors and have something to be proud of.
So, my Mum was right – getting old sure beats the alternatives!