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This Side of the hill...
This morning I read something that made me howl with laughter. A woman in her 40s was writing about how she intended to turn her back on a steady job and embrace her dreams... Nothing even vaguely amusing so far. Until the line "after all when I’m 65 I’ll be too old to do anything but exist." (This won’t seem remotely funny to anyone under 65, but to me, 4 years on from being too old to do anything but exist, well, it’s just hilarious.)
I know it’s probably just as well that young(ish) folk don’t know much about getting older but aren’t there enough examples of older people embracing life, regardless of age?
I’m not going to cite the likes of Helen Mirren and Michael Caine, respectively, (at the time of writing), 73 and 85. Both have had and are still enjoying fabulous careers doing something they love and deserve the cars and the holidays and the ability to let someone else worry about the energy bill.
I work in the same industry. (I use the word "work" loosely. Opportunities these days are rare) And I’m blonde and over 65 (and 66, 67, and 68). Here endeth the similarities to Dame Helen. I live alone. Two husbands have slipped though my fingers. (To be fair, the first one was allowed to slip. I may even have prodded slightly.) The second walked away to a succession of wives. I was his third. I should have known. I have no security blanket for when times get tough... And oh, how they get tough... I’ve lived through a house fire, bankruptcy, job losses, heartbreaks (I never learn). I have two wonderful children who have, between them, fulfilled my Nana urges with 6 gorgeous offspring. The oldest of whom is very thrilled that I can be Googled and pop up on Wikipedia. But before it’s only my obit (or the daisies) that pop up there are Things to Do.
Lack of work makes me worry about whether I can continue to live in this modest, but lovely, house. The financial input of a significant other would help of course. But...
a) Can I take on a 24/7 partner? (More to the point, would anyone take ME on?
Reader, I got fat. I’ve made the odd foray onto a dating site. The only men to show interest are in their 80s. I’m not ageist. But something no one ever tells you, when you get old, you still fancy the fellas who stirred up your juices at 40. My world abounds with attractive men. The straight ones are usually related to me. The gay ones are wonderfully supportive friends who seem quite fond of me, tend my garden, (that’s not a euphemism) while some come and eat cake (And you wonder why I’m fat). Others notice when my highlights have shifted shade. God bless them..
I have a friend in her 80s who has two "friends with benefits." And sometimes both dividends pay out at the same time. Hear what I’m saying? That dame don’t do no Countdown.
Are we doing a favour by not telling our 45-year-old that she may not be sitting awaiting the grim reaper at 65 (if she’s lucky enough to be still here, and has managed to survive air pollution, over-indulgence of Ben and Jerry’s and Brexit). Hell, she’ll still be working, if she’s British anyway.
There are some things that are rarely shared. Did your mum ever tell you about after pains? Or stitches? Mine didn’t, she probably thought childbirth was enough to worry about. Isn’t it our duty to tell the younger ones what it’s like to be older? (And I’m not even that old). Will they listen? Probably not. I dare say I wouldn’t have. The sad thing is that older people seem to many to be utterly irrelevant. (Unless a bit of childminding is needed)
There is life after 60. And could I have some more please?