In honour of my recent 61st birthday I’m typing these words
1. I’m glad that I still type faster than I can think (which maybe isn’t saying too much) and
2. I’d love you to know, oh Sister headmistress of Swishinghabit and Threatening-Wooden-Ruler:
That day you declared me incapable of ever amounting to anything. That day you relegated me to the typing and domestic science classes reserved for the ultra dof. Those days where weightlifting for fingers was a prerequisite to pushing stiff keys on chinking manual typewriters. That day when precise proportions of flour to butter in scones HAD to be calculated… yip those days that you intended for doom, they turned to good and gave me some of my most valuable skills. You were probably the age I am right now (even though you looked dinosaurific), but dear Sister of Swishinghabit and Threatening-Wooden-Ruler, I say thank you. Thank you very much.
I digress, which is something that happens quite frequently and is a given for us in the Middle Ages. Right alongside memory deprivation and going grey. As naturally as getting older brings with it sunspots and wet spots and more lines on my face than I care to count – one day me and you WILL go grey and it will be glorious.
For me, that day is not today.
So here I am, sitting with tin foil strips smothered in purple gunge, all wrapped around selected hairs and held together by a plastic shower cap. Bald men be jealous. Ag ja, the wonderful thing about hair is that you can make it any colour you want it to be. Bless those silver tubes of tints and the wonderful hair people that make the magic happen. Can someone now invent an equally effective potion that removes the saggy bits around my jowls please? Horror of horrors, I have an old man’s sagging bum living on my neck and it’s most evident when seated in front of a large, well-lit mirror with foils in one’s hair.
I’m going grey, but the grey got to be going, as well as a whole lot of other superfluous stuff that I no longer want or need these days. Age has given me the gift of knowing and being comfortable with me. It has given me, back to me – imperfectly molded through 61 years of experiences and failures, life-long and new friends, high hopes and disappointments, and a much clearer perspective of what’s necessary and what’s not in order to live this one beautiful and exceptionally good life.
I fit into me now, and that’s not related to the size of my jeans either. I don’t need to impress or be impressed by others as we’re all same-same, just different. I’m dumping the bad habits as I learn to embrace the better. My bones creak and my knees still hurt, but movement and a healthy lifestyle are my daily portion.
I’m so thankful.
And grateful – not only for the years past and present but for the moments that each day in my 62nd year and beyond will grant me.
So next time, you’re sitting in a hairdresser’s chair, instead of contemplating your navel or the size of the sag in the old man’s bum…
6 things I’ll leave for you to ponder:
People of influence will look more and more like babies. Leaders of huge corporations, leaders in cyberspace, country leaders, school leaders and the brand-new bridegroom leading his infantile bride on the dance floor will hardly look old enough to be out of nappies never mind sporting bespoke suits and wedding rings. The youth of today have more knowledge and know-how than most of us age-d will ever accumulate. Listen, watch and celebrate them. Learn well of them and from them, and let them lead as they order those grande, extra hot, sugar free, vanilla cortado’s with a dash of full fat macadamia milk.
Of stuff. A lot of stuff. Grudges, unforgiveness, assumptions, judgments and that extra box of twice used gift wrapping paper and ribbon that you can’t find when you need it anyway. (Ok, ok, I’m still working on that one)
Don’t hang on to anything that challenges you mentally, physically or spatially. Lose the whole lot but don’t lose your mind. That, you will need for as long as possible.
Less to look after
Recognise that time goes faster and faster (maybe because we get slower and slower) but the same 24 hours between today and tomorrow’s sunrises are available to all of us. Always. If I’m graced with my good life till the age of 80 it means I only have 19 summers left. Say whaaat? We all know how quickly summers come and go – 19 years is but a sniff of jasmine in the air. Use your time well. Do the important over the urgent, light those candles, cook the leg of lamb and use grandma’s best china – if it breaks, well then, it’s one thing less to look after.
There’s really not all that much out there that we can control. Other than our minds and how we perceive and think about things. Control your thoughts and you’ll control your actions and produce the parallel results. Thought control, like quality or environmental control is a learned skill – but at our age we’re very adept at acquiring new skills, we’ve been practicing for a long time already.
Life is 50/50
and without the bad we wouldn’t know the good. We get knocked down, we get back up again. We work and retire or lose our jobs, but we keep going regardless. We are moved to do something for the hurting and sometimes they hurt us, but we do good anyway. We lose a loved one or loyal pet, but we continue on. The world wobbles and we manage to still our small corner. We get sick and we fight to get well – until we don’t anymore. Stuff happens so don’t take life too seriously, it’s guaranteed none of us will get out of it alive. Be assured of where you’re going to from here – the fear of death and eternity is a huge time and energy crippler, robbing you of the joy in every precious day you still have breathing.
Love hard, laugh often,
and just be kind. To everyone. You know that 6 degrees of separation stuff? Right… so just be kind to all who cross your path because you never know who you’ll have to play stip poker with in your frail care home one day.
If in doubt, DANCE! – preferably with a lady whose crowning glory is in a shower cap. Life is too short to be picky about partners.