Once I turned 60 I suddenly felt like I had gone up to senior school, like a new girl in a new playground but with no timetable.I couldn’t even find anyone who knew the timetable or the headmistress to ask. The only thing that was well signposted were the loos.
Retirement is kicking in. All the previous templates and shapes and routines have gone astray and a new one has to be made up.
So far most of my time seems to have involved a lot of faffing on, or frittering. Tidying up loose ends which have been threatening to trip me up for decades – tax advice, SIPPS, PEPS, writing my will, sorting out my iPhotos, downloading CD’s onto my phone… in other words all the dull stuff I have been putting off for years.
If this is what retirement is like then I shall soon be looking for a part time job. Ideally one that means I can still get up when I feel like it and take a nice mug of tea out into the garden whenever the sun shines.
Ah yes, perhaps I will stay as I am..
At last someone has realised that we have eyes in the back of our heads and is using the over 60s to man speed traps in North Wales. I, for one, would happily cruise the motorways of this country with a camera and a clip board catching people driving while using their mobiles. I have a feeling that even if the police only paid me a tenner for everyone caught I might make a fortune. Why? Because I’m a woman who knows when someone has put the wrong bit of rubbish in the wrong bin. Without even being in the room. I should have been in the SS.
Upside No 1
I may not be a tribe elder with a place by the fire where people come to me for advice on how to get the best potato harvest or how many sheep to offer in a dowry, like in times gone by, but being older comes with a great deal of intuition and know how. One of the best things about being older is that I know stuff. Important stuff like being a good judge of character. Specifically I am able to spot gormlessness at 100 meters and before suspect in question has even opened their mouth. This is useful in many ways. For example, I can weigh up the best supermarket check out operative with 100% certainty and choose the fastest lane on offer. Often, interestingly my radar will point me to the oldest person on the check out as the one who will know the difference between a mango and a tangerine and who will also be able to trouble shoot problems rather than simply call for the supervisor. Sometimes of course my gormless radar is useful because I positively want to seek out gormlessness in a shop assistant. I’m thinking in particular of when I am “Taking back” as in I’ve gone off it, or if I’m honest I’ve already worn it but have gone off it. Then my friends the gormless person in the shop is what you want, not what you want to avoid.
Don’t waste time and effort trying to push up, pull in or plump up remaining sex appeal. It will be a waste of time. Today I experienced the equivalent of having 10 years taken off my age. People wanted to talk to me, be my friend and sit next to me. They laughed at my jokes, hung on my every word and want to see me again. That’s because today for the first time I helped out at the local village hall serving lunch to the old people. When I say old actually they looked quite young to me, but apparently the average age is about 85. That’s what happens when you get a little bit old yourself, like policemen looking young old people start looking young.
I commend it to you as a way of making yourself feel younger, and more useful. They are as it happens also hugely good company.
Way to go.
I know I’m getting old because I’ve just turned 60 which means I am now officially “old”. I don’t feel sixty, I don’t even feel particularly grown up, but my claims to the term ‘middle aged’ are now beginning to sound naïve, even laughable. Like all Baby Boomers who like to think we invented sex and drugs and rock and roll, getting old was never going to happen to me. We decided “we’d rather die than grow old” and some of us I notice are even proclaiming “we don’t do old” like we have a choice. But like it or not, time is catching up with us. Suddenly I can feel a slight change in people’s attitudes to me – if I tell someone I ‘m joining the community choir or the local ukulele group (both more or less compulsory for the over 50s) people say “Good for you!” in that way they do to old people, like I’m bucking a trend, or needed a great big pat on the back for still being in the land of the living. Younger people obviously think I’m getting old, but I’m finding hard to come to grips with.
This late middle age or early old age doesn’t even have a name, it’s a no man’s land. There’s no role model that works anymore because we’ve all decided that we’re not going to age like our parents did. Everywhere I look the over 50s are behaving more like teenagers than old farts. They’re busy divorcing, getting STD’s, trekking the Himalayas or dyeing their hair bright pink – like a pack of adolescents but with more liver spots and the occasional need for a nice sit down. Is there a grey revolution under way? Or is it just that old-ness is suddenly on my radar and, just as policeman start to look about 12 when you are in your 30s, old people start to look younger the older you get?
I’ve been mining a seam of comedy based on growing older for ten years with the Grumpy Old Women franchise for BBC Two, and writing the stage shows with Jenny Éclair.Now it is time to figure out where all this new found grey attitude might be heading, which is what this blog is all about.