As the months and weeks leading up to my inevitable half-century birthday (actually today) lessened, I had this overwhelming sense of starting to feel old.
But then, only yesterday morning, I heard an interview on the radio from a 105-year old woman called Peggy who had no intention of feeling old! She was amazing – lucid, talkative, bright, happy – never repeating herself and with such wonderful memories. Even thought she now resided in a nursing home (her choice, not her family’s) she still enjoyed life to the full, reading lots of books and talking to lots of people, and with every aim towards looking forward to her 106th birthday tea on the lawn in the summer.
Both my parents don’t envisage themselves as old. When asked how old he feels on every birthday, my father considers for a moment and then says a number some 60 years below his actual age. When in the past that number was in the teens he added a few extra years, because he said being in your twenties had fewer hang-ups! As a consequence he will still eye up a pretty girl, and probably get away with it!
My mother was reminiscing on the phone about my forthcoming age milestone and she said surely it wasn’t possible for a middle-aged woman to have a middle-aged daughter. I reminded her, tongue in cheek, that a child bride could have one (even though she was definitely not one of those!), and the chuckle on the other end of the phone line signified approval.
Whether you consider yourself old is a state of mind. It is not proven through how many lines you have on your face, or how much experience you have gathered through all the things you have done. It is a belief, a way of life, a mind-set. Keep on saying to yourself that you are young, and you will behave as if you are young, and others will believe you are young too.
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