I am 65 and I do not want to be classified as ‘retired’ or a pensioner. Indeed, I admit that I do have a small pension from all the work I have done throughout my life, but that is another chapter in this story. I do not want to live in my slippers, zapper in hand watching EastEnders and have what my son calls a ‘granny hair cut’. I confess that I do not mind the odd cup of tea in a tea shop during the day with a friend, time permitting of course, as I am as busy as any yuppie.
As it happens, I am not a granny and if I ever become one, I have made it quite clear that I am far too busy to undertake any of the child care. Our children live at least 200 miles away anyway and that is a long commute even by today’s standards. This is the only time in my life that I might be free to do whatever I like. So for once in my life, I am going to think of number 1, that is ME.
Even though I am 65, I am lucky enough not to feel it. In many ways, I still feel as if I am about fifteen. However, I do acknowledge that I don’t look like a fifteen-year-old. My hair is not the colour it used to be, but I have lost weight in the last few years and do not look too bad from the back, whatever about the front. I can walk, cycle, swim, and do all these things a fifteen-year-old can do, but perhaps not with quite the same fluidity and panache. I do make the most of all opportunities that present themselves.
If someone offers to pay for a drink or a meal, I can say ‘thank you’ very politely. I have a large circle of friends and now that our children have grown up, I actually have the time to talk to them and re-kindle old friendships. It is so nice to see how they have coped with life’s challenges. I can do what I fancy work wise too. I do not have to chase after every £5 or 50p like I used to, to pay the bills. So, if someone offers me a job I really do not fancy doing, I can say ‘no thank you’. This was not the case before, when we had small children who grew up wanting to go to university and get a mortgage.
I feel so much more relaxed and free from constraints like mortgages and children asking for money – that I did not have - to go on a school trips, opportunities seem to crop us from nowhere. I still work part time. I have re-trained to teach a meditation technique, and sometimes I cover the office where my husband works when staff are on training courses or on holiday.
They used to say that life begins at 40. I am not sure, that is the case. I think life starts at 60 plus. Go for it while you can.