Getting Older.

On Saturday last it was my birthday. I am now 58 years old. I’m guessing lots of you will be much, much younger than that.

You know what, though? as I’ve got older, I’ve relaxed, become calmer, steadier, much less likely to get stressed or angry (though that might have something to do with being retired and not having to go to work every day), and much, much happier.

Childhood I found fraught and difficult. Teenagerhood was worse. Young adulthood – well, I was married for the first time at 20, and although we have two wonderful grown up daughters, the marriage didn’t work out. Motherhood I loved. Loved it. I fed both my children myself, for a long time, and loved that too.

Working part time while they were younger was hard work but fun. I loved the days off as well as the work days. Working full time while they were older was much much harder. I was always exhausted, and at one point, when I was being badly bullied at work, I had a nervous breakdown.

Now, in my late fifties, retired, very happily married, I love my life. We have five grown up offspring between us, two daughters and three sons. We have five grandchildren, who are just a joy. A small cat lives with us and seems to regard us as “the staff”. She’s lived here since she was an 8 week old kitten, and we love her to bits.

Soon I will be able to knit again, when I’m recovered properly from my last operation. Hubby’s music server, after a frustrating six week hiatus, has arrived, is installed, and working. Thank goodness I back up regularly, or we might have lost his whole music collection.

I’m quite happy for anybody to know how old I am, I really don’t have a problem with ageing. I’m starting to understand why my grandparents used to say “it’ll all pass” or “it’ll all come out in the wash”. Nowadays I’m much better at waiting to see what happens with a problem. If the washing machine leaked, or burst into flames, clearly I’d do something about that straight away, but stuff that can be left, is left, and more often than not just sorts itself out.

There is more time to plan projects (for example the re-decorating and furnishing of the craft room). There’s more time to just sit and have a cup of tea, or sit and think, or look through my knitting magazines and books. Or read – just finished Timeline by Michael Crichton. Excellent. Just discovered there’s a film! hooray! will put it on our list to rent.

Healthwise – well, there’s a whole can of worms. I used to be quite fit. I would swim 30 lengths a week, easily, sometimes twice. The first time I swam a mile I was 12, the next time I was 30 I think, and then I did another one when I was 42, the latter two for charity. Loved swimming, always have. But now, if I go to a public swimming baths, the chances are that I will get a chest infection. I’m lucky if I don’t, let’s put it that way. So I don’t go swimming any more in public baths. When I get the chance, I swim in the sea, no matter how cold it is.

I do have some arthritis, mostly in my hands. I have had a bad back for 35 years now, and 20 years ago they removed the offending disc, which had prolapsed. That made a huge difference, but I still have to be careful because now there are two vertebrae right up against each other.

Generally, though, apart from the M.E. which is the main problem, and not age-related, I manage ok. I sleep a lot. At least 15 hours a day, sometimes 18. But that’s ok because I’m retired. I can’t do things like vacuuming, or drive for more than 20 minutes at a time. But you don’t want a litany of what’s wrong with me. This started out as how fabulous ageing is. And it is!

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