19 November 2014

Ten things I like about getting older

This week I've been very much aware of the negative aspects of growing old, as I watch my parents struggle on with my mother's health problems. I've decided that I need to remind myself of some of the positives of being on the far side of fifty:

Scary ride, fairground
1. As a woman, no more monthly cycle - which means no more PMT, no more silently calculating where I'll be in the cycle when accepting invitations, no more cramps and flooding and running to the all-night chemist for supplies. And with menopause come and gone, the roller-coaster emotional ride has ended and I feel relatively calm and stable.

2. With that goes the end of the need for contraception. No more debates about who is going to take responsibility for providing it, and no more wondering or worrying if I could possibly be pregnant when a period is late. I'm aware that for some women losing their fertility at menopause is a cause of grief. It's a major turning point for all of us. But for me it's good to have moved beyond that stage in life with all its uncertainties.

3. Watching our children 'doing their own thing' as adults, sometimes quite surprising and amazing things. It's great to be able to enjoy their company and share their joys and frustrations without having the responsibility for guiding their lives. A little advice here and there, maybe…

4. Having young people give up their seat for me in buses and trains. (Some of them, anyway.) I used to feel embarrassed that anyone would think I was old enough to need to sit down. Now I just smile, take the seat and appreciate it.

5. Knowing that when faced with a difficult task, I've probably done something similar before and succeeded, or at least survived. My self-confidence has improved as I've notched up experience. Dinner for twenty? I've done it before, I can do it again. Speaking in public? I survived the last time, no doubt I'll survive this time too.

6. Having experience and hard-won wisdom to share with younger people. Each new generation has its own problems, but many of them are perennial. Just being able to say "Been there, done that" often seems helpful to someone who's struggling.

7. Being invisible in public. Sometimes that's frustrating - "Hello, I've been waiting here a long time, has anyone noticed?" But it can be useful. I get to browse in shops without being pounced upon by sales people. I can sit and observe the people around me and no-one seems to mind. I just wish I knew why I always a get picked out at the airport to have my clothes and shoes checked for explosives.

Red hat ladies
8. Being expected to be a bit eccentric. I'm not quite ready for the Red Hat society yet, but I do wear comfortable shoes. All the time. Even to weddings.

9. Needing less sleep than I used to. Maybe the time will come when I won't have the energy to fill the extra waking hours, but for now it's a bonus.

10. Being so much closer to heaven now than when I first set out on the journey. And knowing, from the heart and not just the head (sometimes the head has its doubts but the heart knows from experience) that God will be with me all the way.

What about you? Can you think of benefits of being older that I've missed? Click on 'comments' to leave your thoughts.

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