Age is starting to make its mark on me. When I was younger, I didn't think about age and I didn't feel a particular age. There has never been a time when I thought okay, I'm 18/30/45/50, I should do ...whatever. Now I'm in my mid-60s, I feel it and I know it. I wonder why that recognition of age is with me now.
No doubt, part of the reason is that both my parents have died and I'm grandmother. I have moved into the front line, so to speak, if things go according to plan, Hanno and I will be the next to die. My friends have started dying too. It's a sad time but it's also full of good memories of times past and a strong feeling I am glad to be alive and that I have to make every day count.
Age has slowed me down a bit. I've also lost some strength and sometimes I forget things. When those things happen it makes an impact on me. I wonder if it's the start of something sinister, something that we don't talk about. But it's not all bad news, in fact, most of it is good because I love being over 60 much more than being under 40. I feel as if I've grown into the person I want to be. My hope is that now the baby boomers have started retiring, we'll somehow reverse the idea that ageing is a bad thing and restore it to being just a natural process - a part of life. When you think about it, ageing is a success - if you live long enough to be old, you've survived. If you enjoy your old age, you've not only survived, you've thrived and maybe even triumphed.
I feel that this time of life is the payoff for the industriousness and busyness and of younger years - all those years of child raising, working hard for a living, buying a home and building a strong family. I have many good memories of those times, it was enriching and fulfilling but it was hard work. When I look back to when I was young I see all the hard work yet to come, all the teenage years, the struggle to pay off our home as fast as we could and saying the last goodbye to my parents and some friends - it was all ahead of us then.
We survived it all.
We are still industrious but it's gentle now; it's more a slow and steady working towards sustainability rather than working flat out. We see rewards for that industriousness in the form of our own independence and the genuine feelings of self reliance we both feel.
Busyness is different when you get older - it's multi-layered and on your own terms. My terms are not dictated to me anymore by my job or my children; now I do the productive work of my home, and I choose activities that challenge me and make me think. The self-imposed pressure to succeed has gone and been replaced by acceptance of whatever comes my way, trust in the future and confidence in my ability to cope, no matter what.
I am firmly convinced that, for me, now is not a time for plastic surgery or dyed hair. I wear my wrinkles, thinning skin and grey hair with pride; a kind of badge that says I've been here for a long time, I know what I'm doing, I'm a grandma, I have visited the past and I have a little wisdom to share if you care to listen.
It saddens me when I see women and men who are scared of ageing. This is not something to be frightened of - growing older is the golden prize. It is the time in your life when you can choose what you want to do - and if, like us you choose to take control of your own life and simplify, make your home productive and enjoy the day to day process of that, then you'll have something new to get up for every morning. I reckon I have another 20 years to live, if I'm lucky, I might have 30 or 35. Beyond that, forget it, I don't want to be here forever. I think my job has been to raise my children and to see them raise theirs. I have fulfilled my duty to my species and now is a time for freedom, happiness and maybe a bit of craziness. Now is the time to really live like there is no tomorrow, but maybe that is how we should live all the time.