13 March 2015

Perceptions and age and the gift of growing old

I have rediscovered my ramblings of the past. Whilst reading what I had written five, six and even ten years ago I was struck by how differently I wrote. It was all straight from the gut and some of it was deeply personal. None of it is available on line so I am going to take the opportunity to republish some of it, as I wrote it back then.

This one made me smile. It was written exactly eight years ago, so my 50th birthday is just a memory, the menopause is reality and yes everything has gone south for the winter! I still believe in every word that I wrote.


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Maybe it's because 60 doesn't seem old to me any more and so my perceptions and ideas are changing but isn't there an awful lot of ageist claptrap spoken about anyone over the age of say 50? I'm yet to see 50, it's still a distant enough for me not to worry (!) but at 45, the age of 50 is a booming reality to me.

It's not just the claptrap either, there are the most awful stereotypical thoughts and comments that gush from the mouths and pens of those who appear not to see that it is only in the blink of an eye that they will be one of those that they scorn so. I suppose around about the mid thirties is when you realise full on that it has been twenty (yes 20!!!) years since you left school and in that same space of years you will be approaching retirement and pension age. Suddenly 50,60 and even 70 is not old any longer. Hey, those perceptions apply to everyone else, not me. Look at me I am still young, relatively wrinkle free, fairly firm of body and sound of mind. Then by forty things have changed again, the body isn't quite so firm, even if you work at it, certain health issues might start to creep in and you are there thinking to yourself,  was it only 8 years ago I was still being asked to prove I was over 21?

I'm lucky I suppose in that I come from a reasonably young looking family with women renowned for their good skin. I have no saggy folds or wrinkles especially since I have lost 2 and half stone since the beginning of December. I was sort of thinking that the weight loss might leave it's own debris but I guess my skin must still be fairly elastic and has sprung back into its original place. But that doesn't mean that I don't know that in five or maybe ten years time my skin will gradually have moved in a southerly direction.

Same goes for the face. These last few months have aged me considerably and it shows around the eyes but  am I so internally insecure that plastic surgery must be the answer in order to maintain a youthful appearance? No, I am bloody well not. I stand here now and say I am proud of every wrinkle, line and grey hair because they all prove that I have lived!

Those who leave the mortal coil at a young age stay with us forever as youthful and vibrant because that is how they were and that is how they were when they were taken from us. They didn't get the opportunity to grow old either gracefully or disgracefully or to feel the regret of youth passing. No.

The signs of life are those wrinkles, lines, grey hairs, saggy skin and bodies. Those signs say, I am alive, I have lived, I have enjoyed, I have done something with my life and thought through more than the vanity of trying to keep some perception of youth that in all honesty probably disappeared at 20 only wasn't realised at the time.

So I say to all of those who write such disparaging words about anyone older than them, go and get a life and then maybe you too will learn to appreciate the beauty of looking at someone who has truly lived.

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