Getting a good perspective on ageing.
[This months article has been written by David Coldrick]
As a tired old year is replaced with a new vigorous one how do readers in our Parish feel about ageing? When you are a child you want to be a teen and when you are a teen you want to be an adult. Then the media portrayal suggests we call a halt or go into reverse. What nonsense.
Artist Jennifer Yane once quipped ‘Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened’ – too true - and indeed real live older people tend not to exist in much of the media, especially advertising. So it is not surprising that getting older is often viewed negatively. If you are over 60 then magazines aimed at you contain pictures of 30 year olds with a few airbrushed in extra years - not 60 year old growing old gracefully. Wrinkles and excess weight rarely feature. This induces guilt and denial as the growth in plastic surgery and other ‘treatments’ for both men and women shows.
Playwright Tom Stoppard rightly said that ‘Age is a high price to pay for maturity’ but the reality is we have to just get on with it as there is no cure. You might want to follow Woody Allen’s advice that ‘You can live to be a hundred if you give up all things that make you want to live to be a hundred.’ But that is certainly not me. I like my pies too much. I am also not a man to spend ages in the bathroom. When I was growing up soap on a rope was considered exotic and as most bathrooms were unheated you would not want to hang around in there even if you came out beautiful. Some bathrooms were also called ‘the kitchen’ which made time consuming beautification even trickier. I still believe the best way to eliminate cracks is with polyfiller, not botox. Age has a value apart from appearance. It is called experience.
So if you are concerned about ageing may I recommend you join the resistance? Not to ageing but to the negativity around it. It is the real ‘healthy option’ and gives a better perspective on life. I recommend paying less attention to what people say. Just watch what they do. It is more fun. Keep learning. The beauty of organisations such as U3A, the WI, TWG, Mothers Union and WING, not to mention the myriad of Church groups, coffee mornings and other events held daily across the Borough is that they often offer talks and other activities to engage in.
And please don’t forget that some forms of employment can suit all ages. My own business is delighted to train people up to be part-time, paid, companions and home helps. The oldest companion in Home Instead is in her mid 80s and has had the same client, now aged over 100, for many years. In practice appearances seem to matter far less to Rotherham folk than taking the opportunity to help others. By doing that we can all age well together.