I’m making the most of getting older
PUBLISHED: 13:01 08 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:09 08 April 2019
Comfort waist bands, senior railcards, bus passes - who said there was nothing to look forward to?
A friend said to me: “You look younger than your age,” which was nice.
Although, come to think of it, maybe they thought I look more 63 than 64.
But every day I am surprised by someone who is living life at full tilt in their 60s, 70s and 80s. As a generation we may disappear from the national profile (those pollsters and clip-board brandishers keep ignoring me) but individually, we can be pretty impressive, inspirational even.
On many occasions I have written long and hard about being patronised - not because I am stupid, not because I am wearing a sign saying ‘please speak loudly and slowly’ but just because I may have slightly inaccurately-applied lipstick, the suspicion of grey roots, and laugh lines around my eyes (yes, I know, nothing’s that funny).
But there are advantages to age and top of the list is being able to wear comfy shoes without worrying about what other people think. I no longer have greydar... I am happy to embrace elegant frumpiness. Nowadays, I look better in broad flat shoes than in killer heels. I am content to wear trousers or a skirt with a comfort waist band (ie elasticated). I am not defined by the way I look.
The truth is, I was a poor feminist in my youth. I thought the thoughts and talked the talk but when I attempted to walk the walk, I’m afraid I did it with a bit of a wiggle. It’s much easier not to care what men think when you realise they haven’t even noticed you are there because there’s a sexy 50 year old in the same room. Moreover, what would I do with another one, anyway? I haven’t managed to fully train the one I’ve got.
As well as being comfortable in my own skin and the M&S Woman range, there are also practical benefits to be had.
Top of the list is my Senior Moment Railcard which saves me one-third on the cost of rail travel. This means I sometimes travel first class on the last train out of Liverpool Street - the one that occasionally has very drunk people aboard. Often they mumble, “wake me at Chelmsford” before slumping into a deep sleep. I once tried to wake a man who was slumbering in this fashion - head on the table, unfinished can of lager in one hand, ticket in the other.
“It’s Chelmsford,” I said - informative and to the point, I thought.
“No, it isn’t,” he said, immediately lapsing back into torpor.
So much for my Girl Guides “Getting people off the train” badge.
I am looking forward too, to gaining a bus pass although I have to wait until I reach the state pension age, according to county council websites. It will be especially pleasing to have one of these as I haven’t been on a bus for around 20 years. This is not through lack of interest.
In order to find the local bus route that goes nearest to my home, the omnibus website asked me where I lived and where I wanted to go. I duly entered my postcode and put “town centre” for destination. After a second or two, the answer came up: “Walk.” Thanks for that - when I want healthy lifestyle advice, I’ll ask for it. In fairness, I do live near the town but it’s uphill all the way home and what with my arthritic hip...
As long as you don’t mind admitting how old you are, theatre and cinema tickets are often cheaper for over-60s But I note there was no concessionary rate for my Ed Sheeran concert tickets.
• Last week, I wrote that my son, who was short, with light brown hair, disappeared into his bedroom and emerged, two years later, nearly 6ft tall, with black hair. My dear friend, Dorinda emailed, to say: “This did strike a chord especially bringing to mind when I worked as a Lab Assistant at a middle school. There was a puny lad who used to faint in Science class if the teacher said “blood”. Consequently, he used to have to spell it - B L O O D.” Some years later when my son was the sixth form, he came home with some friends, one of whom, a strapping 6ft 5in, 15 stone lad, greeted me with a huge delighted smile and said (to me) ‘Do you remember me? I used to faint in Science class.’ Well, I did remember, but not this young man towering over me. That was certainly an amazing metamorphosis.”
Pat, from Leiston, has also been in touch: “Your note about your mum warming your feet in warm water rang bells with me. When I walked home from primary school in snow she’d sit me on the kitchen table and wash my feet in warm water and I’d put on a pair of my dad’s thick socks warmed by the fire. Then she’d make me toast and dripping and hot Oxo.”
Toast and dripping, wonderful. Why would anyone want avocado on toast when there’s dripping?
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