Saturday, 6 August 2016

The year of being sixty two

So here is the first slice of the longer piece I want to write, in fact this is what I wrote on my second day at The Hurst on the Arvon course in that sudden rush of realisation of what I wanted to say.  I don't intend to blog the whole thing, even assuming I can write it, but I thought I would try to put an extract on every month and this is August's.  I hope that the discipline of committing myself to do that will keep me writing and I also hope that you will tell me what you think.  I love feedback although I think that too much might make me too self conscious so with luck this will be a balance that works for me.  I hope it works for you too.





The year of being sixty two.

Ageing isn’t linear.  It happens in sudden leaps and swoops.  One day you look in the mirror and your chin has gone.   Your chin which has been with you all your life has suddenly disappeared and in its place is a soft fleshy decline from your head to your neck.  You never even realised that you liked your chin, it was just there at the bottom of your face, but now it has gone you miss it.  Hands are another one.  For years you have quite liked your hands with their narrow palms and long fingers.  Then one day you are drying them after washing the dishes and you see with a start that they have become the hands of an old lady.  The veins and the tendons stand up too sharply.  The skin is finely wrinkled and quite incapable of bouncing back.  They are your mother’s hands.
There is nothing you can do about any of this and in a way you don’t want to.  What would be the use of a long Canute-like battle against the incoming tide of ageing? Better to put your towel down on the beach and feel the sun seep into your bones or to paddle in the warm edge of the sea.  But it is odd nevertheless.  Your body has developed a life of its own.
I have never understood it when you see pensioners on the television insisting with a giggle that they don’t feel a day over seventeen.  I recognise the person I was at seventeen, just.  I think she has something to do with me but it is like looking at another life.  How naive I was, how self obsessed, how self conscious.  How little I knew about what I could cope with.  How little I had loved, learnt, suffered, enjoyed.  If I still felt like that girl after more than forty years of living I think I would have been wasting my time.  But I do recognise the disconnect between the outside and the inside, between the body and the mind.  The body is gently and inexorably moving into the later stages of life even while the mind insists that nothing has changed. 
It must have been like this for generations.  Perhaps every generation has always arrived in the foothills of age with the same start of surprise.  Perhaps no one is ever ready.  But I wonder if those of us born in the fifties and sixties are not particularly at sea.  Unlike my grandmother’s generation we can expect at least another twenty years when we reach sixty, probably more.  Her generation took to its perms and sensible shoes and corsets at the age of fifty or so.  I remember my own grandmother vividly when she must have been about fifty and she hardly changed at all in the way she looked and dressed until she died at seventy one.   Expectations have shifted since then both in terms of how long we might live and what we might look like as we do so.
The media can’t quite decide how to categorise us.   For a while Joan Collins was the only older woman who you might expect to see in newspapers and magazines.  Now it is Helen Mirren.  Both are offered as evidence that is possible to be attractive and desirable at around seventy.  I am really not sold on that one.  Most of us never looked like Helen Mirren in the first place and do we really want desirability to be the measure of our worth?  I think I might have had enough of that when I was younger. 
So here we are.  What are our sixties and seventies going to look like?  Most of us have worked outside the home.  Many of us have had interesting and demanding professional lives denied to our mothers and grandmothers.  Many of us are fortunate to be financially secure.  When I look at my friends I see political passion and environmental commitment.  I see women who take deep pleasure in their grandchildren and who also want to travel in Asia.  I see women who have devoted their lives to their families finding time and energy for themselves, starting businesses, writing novels, taking great satisfaction from the traditional female domestic crafts or deciding to work until they are seventy for the sheer pleasure of it.  Of course we are privileged, women like me, immensely privileged compared to most older women throughout the world, and privileged even in comparison to those in our own country who struggle with lack of money or ill health.  But I don’t see our lives represented in newspapers and magazines or even in fiction.  Too old to be a heroine, too young to be a crone, we seem to be invisible.  Does this happen to men of our generation too I wonder?  Perhaps not as overwhelmingly since men are still much more visible in the workplace and in the media and politics and anyway I could not speak for them even if I wished to.  But I can speak for myself and thus perhaps for women of my generation.
So here it is, a year of being sixty two, with its pleasures, its pains, its freedoms and its frustrations.  It would not be honest to write this without looking at ageing and mortality but neither would it be true to ignore the opportunities and happinesses of the last quarter of life.  I would not put the clock back.  To be here is a pleasure  and a privilege.  But where to next?

62 comments:

  1. Honest and truthful narrative Elizabeth with a conversational way of drawing your reader in. age caught me out when I was still fantasising that we are only as old as we feel. It is the gradual losses and erosion I resent (and don't get me started on Helen Mirren as role model!) - feels rather punitive. Even my down to earth sensible grandmother was not above mourning her lost youth.
    The previous post on Avron is a must to read for your readers to understand your writing mojo- Look forward to next instalment

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    1. Thanks for commenting Laura. That whole question of whether to mourn your lost youth is an interesting one and one that I think I will write about. For me the loss that I am most aware of is of physical things, like the chin, like the smooth arms I used to have. But I can't have those things and be the person I am now and I am not sure I would want to lose that. I don't really want to go back on my journey.

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  2. This subject has been so much on my mind, ever since I realised that there's all that stuff about wrinkles everywhere but nothing much about the sag. Probably because there is no even half convincing product against the sag.

    I remembered when I became a teenager and we had loads of stuff offered us about what was 'happening' to us and what it all meant. I think we felt well cared for in that way, after our codliver oil childhoods. But this equal metamorphosis has, as you say, nothing much to help us through it.

    I agree - I think you're acknowledging?- that part of us really is the age we are, with all that that means in history and experience. But that there's also a curious sense, which you address at the begining, of your body changing while you are sort of stuck inside it, watching. Hence my thoughts about adolescence.

    How to assume a new identity? Do we have to? Is it right to? An adolescent becomes a grown up - a very different thing and it's weird if they don't. So do we need to become 'an old person' ? Is there a relief in making that transition rather than fighting it? Does it happen to us willy nilly anyway? Or do we shape it?

    I feel I'm treading on your toes a bit here, as you are not thinking of a dialogue so much as your own thoughts. But it is a subject I feel full of thoughts and feelings about.

    I have a book, which you may find interesting - The Courage to Grow Old (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Courage-Grow-Old-Phillip-Berman/dp/0345350723/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470562957&sr=1-2&keywords=the+courage+to+grow+old) - a series of thoughtful essays, written some time ago. I think I'd appreciate a contemporary version. AND whatever you're up to, too!

    Hope this hasn't been too toe treading or self conscious making. I know that anxiety too. (I think it goes as soon as you engage with the writing though.)

    Xxxxxxx

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    1. All the questions I have been asking myself Anne. I really don't know the answers. But I suspect we do at some stage become an old person and that will be likely to involve some forms of letting go if it is to be done with grace. But do it too soon, or too whole heartedly and you give your life away. I do want a dialogue! That is part of the reason for writing: the sense that this stage of life is invisible and not much acknowledged. I would like us to talk about and think about it and do it in an examined and thoughtful way. Thank you for the recommendation. I will seek it out. Just the sort of response I am looking for. Thank you.

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    2. There'll be more where this came from! This is something I think about a lot.Looking forward to hearing more from you on the subject.Xxx

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  3. [D] Lovely writing - and so insightful, too. J and I are just a few years behind you, and perhaps for that reason we do see our own experiences in what you write. So perhaps your writing is empathetic too.

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    1. thank you! I hope it is empathetic if only in that the challenges are something we all share by virtue of being human

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  4. I shall be 70 next month and happily I still have a chin :) My hands are where my age shows most but I'm lucky enough to have inherited good genes from my mum and still have my hair colour and very few wrinkles as she did even in her 80s. I certainly don't feel old or think of myself as old, the only difference in the last 2 or 3 years is that I don't have as much stamina as I used to. I can do everything I used to do but not as quickly and I'm definitely fading by late afternoon. Inside I feel around mid 40s and I don't think I've changed a great deal since then.I enjoy life and have lots of interests so getting older has so far been pretty much OK.

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    1. I am sure that enjoying things and being interested are key to enjoying growing older. I do recognise the stamina issue, something I am particularly aware of when looking after grandchildren!

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  5. Wonderful writing, both in terms of content and of style. I especially appreciate the distinction between not feeling any older than our 17-year-old selves (a preposterous and, frankly, horrifying declaration) and feeling that sharp disconnect between our interior and our exterior selves. I'm very lucky at being fit enough, at 63, that I can run long distances better than I could when 25 (because I never tried to do this at that age, fortunately, so that my benchmark is easily surpassed). But there's no denying ageing in all its tedium (the knees, the hips, all those tight joints) -- and its fascination and its undeniable foreshadowings. . . Allowing my grey hair to emerge, reckoning with who, then, looked back from the mirror . . . it's another new journey. My 17-year-old self surely could not have handled it. I might be able to, just. . . Looking forward to next month's instalment very much.

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    1. That is a very interesting thought frances, that being able to handle ageing is part of the strength we have acquired as we have grown older. I recognise too the fascination and the foreshadowings. I do also find this whole business interesting. One day we must share a glass of wine and talk late into the night.

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    2. Oh yes please! This decade, let's do!

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  6. What has bothered me most - just one year behind you- is not the loss of a chin so much as the gaining of a second one. I really, really don't like it. Strange isn't it how different bits of us have different meanings? I used to have really dark hair. I feel weird seeing photos of myself in my 20s. I think now that I looked so handsome. I didn't at the time. And I don't know. Though the word "desirability" doesn't resonate for me. I really am quite OK with my hair being white, but I am anxious about that thin patch expanding to reveal a baldness. I think I may just hate that happening. I fear it. The other thing that bothers me is sagging buttocks. Too much information? I have an image of my father in his 70's with lank skin and flabby buttocks. I felt repulsed. Isn't that awful of me? I don't want to become him. But I will. Physically. I really don't know what other men think or feel about all this. I think I should know. I know that men and women exist in parallel universes. But they do touch much of the same, or at least, similar ground. In many ways I link this preoccupation with our physical selves is a dreadful tyranny.

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    1. I think we all have parts of our ageing bodies that bother us and parts that don't. I particularly dislike the saggy stretchy skin on my arms. But yes, it is a tyranny and I suspect that some part of the challenge of the next stage of life is to let it go. I'm having a go at the moment at focussing on health and function, enjoying what I can do and improving it. I think that might be part of the way forward.

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  7. Great post, Elizabeth. I look forward to more like this.
    At 64 I notice, of course, the physical. I still work, put in long days and keep up with colleagues young enough to easily be my children. I don't have issues with knees and hips, thank goodness. Sunspots, fading hair and a well-lined face remind me of my age but they aren't things I dwell on. I have two very beautiful sisters, and having been the odd one out I never really dwelt on my physical appearance beyond wanting to look smart and well-groomed. Those things stay into one's 7th decade after youthful attractiveness has faded. What I notice is the way I think and the way I consider myself as a person/woman. It's the confidence. I know what I know. I have a good sense of who I am, how far to go and I'm finally not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. It seems to me that our generation will go on, to the very end, navel-gazing and searching for a way to avoid the fate of everyone who went ahead - so many want eternal youth and seem to believe that they're going to live forever. There is so much pleasure in this stage of life - so much still to learn and experience.
    I look back on the 20 year old Honora and the 30 year old and even the 40 year old, and look back with affection. I certainly don't mourn the past or long for it or think that I am a 20 year old locked in a 64 year old body. I think I was lucky enough to have lived each decade fully and as un-selfconsciously as I could have. Now I like where I am and the only niggling worry is extreme old age and possible incapacity. I guess I'll face that when and if it comes because as we know - aging is the good alternative.

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    1. I completely recognise the confidence honora and share it. I too like where I am. There is much to celebrate and I don't want to fall into the trap of scratching around for youth and not facing where I am in my life. I also recognise your comment about having lived so far fully and unselfconsciously. My parents were great at this and I strongly believe that the more fully we live each day the happier we are, both in the moment and in the next moment.

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  8. How thoughtful and well written. How well you capture the little details of one's lost youth....!
    I'm really, really, hating getting older and diminishing in all sorts of ways.
    Perhaps I should be grateful for still being around.
    (My daughter's best friend died last week at 36 after 5 bittersweet years with brain cancer.)
    So.
    Wrinkles. Old lady hands. Horrid old crone in the mirror!
    But - the children still seem to like Granny - as do various dogs etc. And so we soldier on!
    Warmest wishes from a very warm New York.

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    1. I think that one of the impacts of the last couple of years and their losses, mother, father in law, father, has been that I have been too preoccupied to notice growing older and seem to have noticed all at once as I emerge from the death of my dad at the end of last year. I think those collisions with mortality do make it much easier to "still be grateful for being around" as you say. I also wonder if ageing is different depending on where you live? I love New York but I suspect it may not be the easiest place to grow old in, with its focus on gloss and polish and zip! That might be rubbish. You must tell me if so!

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  9. Dear Elizabeth, I feel fortunate to have been able to have met you in person and also to have your fine writing to allow me to know you in some other layers.

    I'm almost a decade older than you and still count my blessings that I reached young adulthood during the 1960s. It was a breakthrough time when lots was questioned and big steps were taken, not just by women. But lots by women. I think that from that time on, history was forced to take a very big step.

    I'm very visually oriented in my day to day experience of life, but with respect to people I encounter always value what I perceive as "inside" to be the important part. Health. Energy. Enthusiasm. Curiosity. Generosity. Patience.

    xo

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    1. It is interesting though isn't it Frances that while I wholeheartedly agree with your valuation of "inside" things, a person's outside can make accessing those things more difficult?

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  10. It is so good to see this subject being addressed - and the comments are ones which I identify with. I sense it is about coming to terms with loss - I believe that as you say - we should continue to embrace the opportunities that come our way and learn to love more ? Perhaps this would quell the tyranny of our sagging flesh Charles ? I have seen passion continue to exist beyond it.

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    1. I agree that ageing is coming to terms with loss and balancing that with embracing life and continuing to feel love and passion. It might not be an easy challenge but no one could say it is boring!

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  12. Ah, yes, the chin. How did that happen and where did it go?

    Much as I empathise with your vivid description of coming to terms but the ageing process, I also find it curiously liberating. Liberating to be able to watch from the sidelines, instead of feeling the need to be centre stage, liberating from being defined by my attractiveness to men and the tyranny of my hormones. Letting go a little, letting the young take over, whilst still participating and engaging; just being more instead of doing too much. And yet, I still fight a rear guard action on trying to be the best I can be with where I am now and trying not to see too far into the future - as you know, having seen our parents through it, we can't not know.

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    1. Now I do understand and identify with that liberation. I might have to write more about that if you don't mind. It is part of the reverse side of the coin to becoming invisible. There are pleasures and gains in invisibility which I did not expect. It is particularly satisfying if you can turn invisibility on and off which I find I can!

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  13. At 62 I am surprised by my appearance in photos more than in the mirror. I suppose it is the profile with that fleshy decline that you describe so well. My hair even looks whiter in photos than it does in the mirror.
    I find I am inclined to make calculations about time remaining in a way that I never even wasted a second thinking about before. Talking about time elapsed in decades is astonishing. Wondering if I have time for a tree to grow to a satisfactory height is sobering. Health wise I am in many ways fitter and happier. The back problems that dogged me in my twenties and thirties have resolved and the menopause was a huge relief from the hormonal rollercoaster and terrible pain. My children have barely left home (late starter) but now I look after a grand daughter regularly so my days are irregularly parcelled depending on her needs. I haven't yet settled into the new me but am conscious that I must get a move on before proper old age sets in and limits my horizons. 'Where to next?' indeed. I look forward to reading your next installment.

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    1. That is exactly it Lucille, the calculations about time remaining. It makes you concentrate on a good day! I also agree about being happier in many ways. Life after the menopause too! Who knew how much easier it would be?!

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  14. The best fun is to put your hands under a fierce hand drier and make the skin ripple backwards and forwards.

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    1. Ha! Love this. Got to try! l-)

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    2. I don't know whether this would make me laugh or cry. Possibly both!

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  15. Great post Elizabeth and written with excellnt insight. I was 65 last week and thought I was doing well until I saw a photo taken at #2 daughter's wedding 5 years ago, and saw how much I have aged in 5 years. A friend did remind me that I've been through a lot in that time but I hadn't realised the toll it had taken, on the other hand, it may well be that I would have aged regardless and it is just the cruelty of time. I empathise with the chin. I have a bulge that appears between my jawline and neck when I look down, also I have developed a midriff bulge which is something I have never had in the past.

    What really pulls me up is my grandchildren's drawings of the family in which they colour everyone's hair with yellow crayons and mine is coloured in with a graphite pencil, because "Granny is grey" - #1 daughter kindly says its not grey its frosted!

    I feel I've been invisible for years, never getting a first look let alone a second glance :-( not from anyone I would be interested in anyway. My experience has shown that most men age quicker than we do and a lot at 55 look a good 10 years older!

    There are longevity genes in my family, Mum is 97 and Dad is 92, so I intend to live for a good few years despite past health issues. I will accept it for what it is and be happy I am healthy and still alive and perhaps start to wear purple!

    When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
    With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
    And I shall spend my pension
    on brandy and summer gloves
    And satin sandals,
    and say we've no money for butter.

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    1. I think you cannot have been through your health issues without it being written on the face and the body but it does make you sharply aware of being alive. I would go for the wearing purple as part of being happy to be healthy and here!

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  16. I love your writing about aging and will be reading your future posts with interest. I am a decade ahead of you and I can truthfully say the best is yet to come. Reaching 70 seemed a real landmark in a way no other age had done. I can do and say things I never would have dared in times gone by and am able to be myself and the strange thing is that nobody seems to think any the less of me so all those years of trying to be what I thought I should be were perhaps a waste of time. I actually said to my consultant following an eye operation earlier this year that I would like to give him a hug of gratitude but that I wouldn't of course embarass him and he got up and gave me a hug - him a young man old enough to be my son! I have a postcard I bought myself on my pin board which says "Why fit in when you were born to stand out" and I intyend to remember this and be who I am just as I am saying what I feel as long as I don't hurt anyone else in doing so. Getting old is brilliant I find and even though there are and will be health issues I am loving every moment of it and as for creams and potions to make us look young pfff who needs them the lines and wrinkles and the age spots and so on are simple telling our story and no longer do I suffer angst if my hair isn't quite right or I have wrinkles on my skin (now more visible since my eye op!) "To live at all is miracle enough" and I am eternally grateful that I am here till I am not!

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    1. I love your celebration of the freeing nature of getting older. It picks up on what others have said about confidence and liberation. I think it is fascinating that survey after survey has shown that the over sixties are the happiest age group, with satisfaction only falling in the very last years of life if health is poor. Clearly we should be living it and enjoying it!

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  17. Followed you from Pienosole,
    Love your sharing
    and this one now 80
    buy my mind says 20 years younger :)
    Everything fine until 2 years ago
    and now health problems, what did I think
    that all would be fine forever :)

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    1. Welcome and thank you for commenting. I love your comment "What did I think? That it would all be fine forever?" Of course it won't and can't be but I hope you are still finding pleasure in every day.

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  18. Well put. I cannot agree more about Joan Collins and Helen Mirren. It is just another way to say: still important to be attractive to men, even if you are old! For Heaven's sake...if we are thinking like that in the Last Third, what have we learned? Our generation of women - many more of us well-educated, independent, operating out in the world, still working - will present a very different picture of old age. But if I ever find myself dressing like a slapper at 80 and saying gamely: still got it! then...over the cliff, please. Forthwith.

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    1. Love this. You made me laugh out loud. Yes indeed, over the cliff it is.

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    2. Brilliant. Mirren and Collins are so annoying.

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  19. How I could have written this Elizabeth, not with such eloquence but the same feelings are there. What I appreciate most about this time of life is the freedom that is impossible any earlier. Yes I worry about getting old. But I also want to make the most of each and every day that lies ahead. I will never get any of them back.

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    1. There is a real freedom in this time of life Jessica and that is probably at the heart of my sense that I would not go back. I want this freedom that I have now and I love it. The challenge is to use it wisely and happily and well.

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  20. O! and you must know this? https://www.amazon.co.uk/Feel-Bad-About-My-Neck/dp/0552773816/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470827385&sr=8-1&keywords=nora+ephron
    I love Nora Ephron.

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    1. Oh yes, have read this. It's wonderful!

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  21. ''the pleasure is in the passing'' poemblog6.blogspot.com. Adamic sin catches up with us all. Best wishes , Mark.

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  22. Very well written and poignant post. I am sitting smack in the middle of this age of which you speak and it feels odd. My mind is still young although I am sensing times where I feel my age more now than ever. We are invisible, I feel. As you say, we aren't all Helen Mirren or Judi Dench. I have gotten to the age where my children are in or approaching their 40's and I realize that my children are on the edge of middle age -- that is a humbling thought. Ageing is difficult but I am glad for the privilege.

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    1. presumably your children are as puzzled to find themselves approaching middle age as you are! as you say, to be here is a privilege

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  23. I walk one year behind you.
    Still finding my way into active retirement and a home where 'everything' is new and different, and yet it is only another part of the city in which I grew up. The past is another country - adds an exotic layer to the same old same old, which isn't.

    My mother's hands? Yes. And yet hers at almost 100 years old were silky soft, mine are still rough from gardening!

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    1. The past is indeed another country and perhaps the future too. Living right now, that seems to be my answer, although I don't always achieve it!

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  24. I'm a few years behind you but will read with interest. My OH is about to semi-retire after he reaches 60, I think I'm in denial, my re-invented work-self has found opportunites I never dreamt of and really don't know if those commissioning designs from me know my age, nor do I care. That's the wonder of the internet - they see my work, I liaise by email, we never meet face to face.
    As for losing my looks, I've never considered myself as pretty, never yearned to wear girlie clothes so in face I feel much more confident about how I look since I turned 50.
    Onwards and upwards until I fall off my perch
    xx

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    1. You are a perfect example of the way women are ageing differently and seeing opportunities open up for them which would have been inconceivable for our mothers and grandmothers. I am not sure you are in denial! The sense of facing our own mortality comes when it comes. Mine has undoubtedly been brought sharply into focus by the deaths of my parents and father in law. It doesn't stop me aspiring also to onward and upward!

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  25. Such a good post, Elizabeth, and great comments too! I rather like this time of life; it is full of moments of revelation. I too look at my hands and wonder when they began to look so old, but then I think about them, how well they have served me for 67 years, and I feel a surge of admiration for them! I am also halfway through growing out my hair colour after 40 years, and whilst I knew I was grey underneath, have been taken by surprise by just how much grey I have, and how much real white has emerged - I am going to look like a very different woman once the brown hair dye has disappeared! But underneath all the change, there is an essence that is 100% me, with no definite age bracket, but very thankful that I can never be 17 again! I look forward to reading your next instalment.....

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    1. I totally understand being thankful that you can never be seventeen again! I feel exactly that. I didn't think I was miserable in any way at the time but ever since I became something like an adult proper I have been glad that my teens are behind me!

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  26. Hello Elizabeth, I've enjoyed your thoughts on aging, and like you, this is also my year of being sixty-two. I find I pride myself in being able to move around quite well, in good health (thanks be to God!). But then I know that could change at any moment--it can for anyone no matter what age. Like you, I see the lines and the graying hair, the sagging face (I find myself smiling in public just so I don't look so old--'natural' face lift and all that). Yes, my hands that were lovely for so many years are looking rather old(er). My knees are beginning to complain too. I do like who I am though, and there is that confidence in knowing what you like or don't like and what you will put up with or not. I'm much wiser, and more skeptical of people and ideas--I consider that a plus. I remember a few years back seeing a just married couple driving around town, car horn honking, streamers from the back of the car blowing in the wind, people cheering and congratulating the couple. So much joy in their life--so much of life to look forward to--so many firsts... and I became angry. And sad. I realized how much of life I had already lived, and it was all gone, all over, no second chances. I had more years behind me and less in front. I am determined to embrace the years I do have left. I think when we stop making plans for the future, then we stop living. Looking forward to more of your thoughts. I've been writing mine down too--I like how I keep changing and improving. By the time I exit this world, I just may be perfect! ;)

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    1. How good it would be if we exited the world perfect! I would that it were so easy, perfection through ending! All that we can do is to continue to think, to question, to be here, now. I know just what you mean about looking back on our own naivety. I wouldn't want to deprive anyone of that joy and innocence but looking back now the self, that was in my twenties seems both wonderful and like a baby. This cannot be new. Our parents and grandparents and the generations before must have looked at youth and wanted to raise their hand and speak. And yet silence may be better.

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  27. A wonderful piece of writing. For myself - mid fifties but with rheumatoid arthritis and having never had much of a chin, grandmother to a baby but with one of my own four 'babies' still living at home, parents still living but living with dementia - I'm finding I'm quite muddled about what feels like a transitory stage. A dialogue such as you've begun here is most welcomeb

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    1. You have so much in transition there Annie. I think there is so much to be said about our stage of life and see so little which really resonates with me. It would be very good to have you in the conversation.

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  28. As someone not too far away from 60, it's interesting to see how others are coping (if that's the right word) with ageing. I'm not sure I feel 17, but certainly stuck somewhere in my late twenties. With my youngest daughter now off to university, I'm hoping to find time to do all those things I've always wanted to but never found time for.

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  29. Another great post with heartfelt and thoughtful comments. Ageing is a peculiar experience. I didn't really notice it until I hit my late 40s (I'm now 51). I'm sort of letting my hair go grey but might have to dye it again as I keep being surprised by the woman in the mirror – is that really me?! My stomach isn't as flat as it once was and my hands are definitely looking older (should've worn rubber gloves for all that washing up!). But mostly, I hope to keep healthy and fulfilled for as long as possible, balancing family, work and self. I'm thoroughly enjoying your writing, Elizabeth. Thank you. Sam x

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  31. I love your blog. I, too, am loving this time of my life being in my third year of retirement, aged 63. Having never married or had children I worked without a break from my twenties until 60. And it really feels like a new phase of my life with time and freedom to do all the things there was never enough time to do like painting, gardening and keeping up with friends, and contemplating a move to the countryside. It seems to me to be so important to use this time well while I have my health and strength. My friends are so important to me and I treasure them.

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