I’ve just written a guest blog for Maddy at Home (being published late Thursday) where I say that most of the time I ignore my age. But let’s look at this in more depth.

For instance, I see Helen Mirren has been interviewed in Saturday’s Guardian Weekend about life, the universe and being 70. My word, she looks good but, apparently, she hates the word beautiful being applied to her, and what’s more, she thinks that she doesn’t look better than when she was younger. Instead, the whole point of being older, she believes, is she doesn’t really give a flying f… what people think!

Oh yes, that’s the attitude to take, although I’d argue that she’s a stunningly attractive woman and a role model for us all.

But setting that aside, (the fearless flying attitude) she also says that it’s a pleasure to be 70. Hmm, will I be as positive as Helen Mirren and say the same thing when I reach that age next year? I probably will. But, but, I think it’s quite hard work moving into your 70s.

Who was it who said ageing is not for softies? Katherine Hepburn, I think. Yes, for me, it’s about putting in quite a bit of effort into ageing well.

In one respect, of course, I’m lucky in that nothing major has occurred, but even so I take quite a vigilant watchful approach to several areas of my life – because, I have to.

For instance, in the morning, I’m quite stiff and bent with a distinct tilt to the right! My weekly yoga class is a must for me as it stretches and straightens me out. I also do yoga approx. twice a week in the morning on a mat in my bedroom. I can’t function and walk properly without it.

I also go to a weekly senior’s gym class and there’s a bunch of people there who are much older and fitter than me. I asked one of them how long had she been coming the class – ‘oh, about 22 years’ was her reply. (As you can’t start the class until you’re 55 she must be at least 77.) And why do you come, I asked, ‘because so many of my friends can’t walk now’ was her answer. Gosh, a good reason to i) start a gym class and ii) continue it!

And in the gym I do a lot of weight-bearing exercises because of my bones, which are a bit thin. (I also walk as much as possible) Yes, I have very mild osteoporosis in my right hip, which I know about because I get a Dexa Scan every three to four years. Here in the UK this is free via our wonderful NHS so I hope all you UK readers approaching 70 know what your bone density is. If not, go get a scan, please, as there are no symptoms for this, and you won’t know until you break something.

And then there’s my skin, and it’s not just about keeping away from the sun because of my tendency to get minor skin cancers, it’s also that it’s quite thin, especially on my bony shins. Having been a nurse, I know that old age might bring on leg ulcers. So I asked my general practitioner what I ought to do and she replied put on 4 stone (56lbs) in weight! She laughed and then said, ‘no, don’t, please don’t. But that, apart from moisturising your skin a lot, is what would prevent my skin breaking down. But I had a few years yet, she thought.

It bugs me a bit that when you ask how to prevent something like the leg ulcers of old age, there is appears to be little you can do apart from ‘a moisturiser’. Well, which one? To cut a long story short (I bought a few duff products) I highly recommend the purity of organic coconut oil, which I get from the online organic provider of oils NHR.

Getting back to the question is age a number that you can ignore – the answer is that you can’t ignore the ageing process.

So, I don’t ignore my own ageing. But, here’s the thing, is being an older person about physical ageing, which you cannot escape from, or is it about a mind-set, and an attitude? When I look at my physical body, and the work it takes to keep it going I accept what I am and then say to myself, get over it.

Because this decade of retirement has been the time of my life as I’ve published a book, become involved in a film society, and write the blog.  I’m even thinking of setting up another blog (in a totally different field/subject.) How about that then? So, my take on ageing is to be up for anything, and never, saying never.

Consequently, I don’t think I’ll say hitting 70 is exactly a pleasure; it’s more about living the life and looking for the next challenge.

Checked-jacket-webFor example, now I’ve done the new-look blog my next challenge is Instagram (although I won’t be photographing my food, which I believe is what a lot of people do).

Anyway, here’s a jacket I bought recently, which will be great for these cooler Autumn days. Bought, btw, for all of £7.50, which us slightly more expensive than my usual bargain buys, but it is new and still with its M&S label. And the point of putting up this photo is that the pic should go into an Instagram account. Not too sure what it is to be honest, but hey, I’ll learn!

That’s all for now, but do tell me what you think about this ageing business!

With love, Penny, the frugalfashionshopper


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18 thoughts on “I’m in my 70th year – so is age just another number?

  • 1st October 2015 at 10:22 am

    hi Penny , I love your blog . Ageing as best you can requires some input , but waking to enjoy each day , and not ever taking anything for granted and getting out and moving , within your limits . Being open , constantly adjusting , being prepared for change and taking care within whatever budget at your means .

    • 1st October 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Hi Joan and thank you so much for your comment. Yes, I so agree that ageing requires input but along with ‘the work’ a positive take on life goes a long way. I love your attitude.

  • 1st October 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Great piece about ageing! I am 63 and recently noticed, apart from the weight creeping up and dresses not really fitting properly, a distinct aching when gardening. I felt I had lost a real chunk of my fitness. I used to run the occasional marathon and felt fairly fit but was more tired than usual. Our cocker spaniel, Molly, coincidentally had been put on a doggy weightwatchers diet by the vet, with monthly monitoring of her weight.I noticed how puppyish she became as the weight fell off and how much more she enjoyed exercise.
    I believe in learning from anyone and anything…even a dog… so jointed the local leisure centre where I am not doing yoga, weekly, gym sessions aimed at toning up and as many classes as I decide I can fit in. I swim a few times a week now.
    Am really feeling the benefit already after just 6 weeks! Feel more alive and can occasionally find myself dancing to my old CDs as I am also decluttering myself and my belongings. Aches have gone and I am noticing how easily I climb stairs.
    So yes- am taking a renewed interest in self care and enjoying exercising. No more marathons though. When I said never again I meant it!

  • 1st October 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks to “Maddy at Home” I have found your blog. Oh-no-you-are-not-70! In mind, you are a hellovalot younger! Honestly, every now and then I post stuff about dressing for less and my love for discount clothing. My blog is written about stuff from the POV as an atypical 60 year old! But I have to say, I’ll be reading your blog regularly!
    Thank you,

    • 1st October 2015 at 5:17 pm

      Hi Catherine and thank you, it’s so good that you’ve found my blog. Great to meet you!

  • 1st October 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Hi Penny
    I am your age and agree with all you said – we cannot take our good health and vigour for granted. In addition I try to enjoy and appreciate every day. Recently I decided to use my ‘best’ china always. The old kitchen pottery has been donated, and I so enjoy using my lovely ‘good’ set.

    • 1st October 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment, Ruth. I just love that you’re using your ‘best’ china – yes, live in the now although it’s quite hard to do that all the time. But it’s a good thing to go for I think.

  • 1st October 2015 at 2:20 pm

    I have to say Penny, I’m 38 and read your blog all the time. I don’t think of you as an older person and your posts always feel relevant to me. I think this is because you are building a more caring and nurturing relationship with yourself which is something women and men of any age can do for themselves. Always inspiring! Thanks ?

    • 1st October 2015 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you so much, Laura. Yes, I don’t think old. Lovely to get your feedback.

  • 1st October 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Dear Penny,
    Regarding your new blog name, Word Press–I marked it as junk, until I then went and checked it. I am wondering why you felt it is a better title?

    Today’s blog was truly thoughtful, especially as you touched on many aspects of reaching your 70th year –as a measure of how we will feel, do feel or felt. If I think back on what you have written over the years, I know you readied us all for this time of life, or perhaps reinforced some of our own thoughts: we work with what we have, and ‘get on with it’ doing the best we can. And if charity shops help out, provide quality goods, fun and style, why not! And many of us feel it is a respectable form of recycling.

    You do put a lot of time into your appearance, Penny…hair and skin as well as enjoying new or nearly new items in your wardrobe. One of your most valuable tips for me has been to keep on weeding out what we do not wear. I am undergoing my third time around this summer alone. I love also that I see some familiar items in your new photos…boots, shoes, etc. Another very valuable thing you do for me is to show how you dress for a certain event. Living in a country as I do which is ultra casual often to the detriment of the zoomer, I appreciate seeing what you wear, how you put items together, and how you demonstrate your own particular style. You dress in a unique way and it inspired me to search for my own unique way. I am still working on that.

    Whatever you call it, I will follow the blog! Never give up on the photographs and the stories behind the items, please! Allowing us to get to know you is surely a huge part of the success of your blog.


    • 1st October 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Gosh, Margaret This is quite worrying as my blog name hasn’t changed at all, it’s Frugalfashionshopper as before. The only thing that has changed is that we are working from a self-hosted site called frugalfashionshopper.co.uk with everything built by us, and we aren’t using wordpress.com at all!!!!!!

      The thing is you are an email blog follower and you get an email automatically as I post – I don’t send that email so I have no control over it. Actually Bill (Mr Frugalfashionshopper) is a wordpress follower which is slightly different, but he gets an automatic email just like you. We got your comment and he checked his emails and yes, heavens to betsy it used to say frugalfashionshopper and now it’s saying all sorts. But sooo glad you alerted us as I wouldn’t have known anything about it, if you hadn’t told me. This is a glitch that will have to be sorted. But so glad you liked the blog once you read it!

    • 7th October 2015 at 6:57 am

      Yes, Bill explained to me that the automatic email that you get is still sent by WordPress.com but glad that we were able to fix it so it said it came from frugalfashionshopper!

  • 2nd October 2015 at 9:38 am

    Hi…I love the very positive attitude you present in your blog to the process of getting older. Look forward to the next update….cheers Dot

    • 7th October 2015 at 6:59 am

      Thank you so much, Dot. I am positive about ageing – mostly – it’s definitely about taking a certain attitude, I think x

  • 2nd October 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Hi Penny,

    Just love that jacket! I didn’t know you had published a book otherwise I would have included you in a post on my Writing 101 blog about bloggers who are published. If you have a link I will put it there…

  • 11th October 2015 at 7:35 am

    Bit late catching up with my favourite blogs but your comment about your shins reminded me of my beloved granny, who died aged 96. Amazing London woman who shopped everyday for food & when she went into sheltered housing at 90 took up shopping & cooking meals for her neighbours. We were going out to a supermarket one day & before she went she got out 2 crepe bandages & wrapped them round each calf. I asked what that was about & she said that people were very careless with their shopping trolleys & if she got caught by one she might land up with a leg ulcer. ” Nasty smelly things!” – she said!
    My father once told me I was stroppy & independent like his mother, my granny. I told him it was the nicest thing he had ever said to me! (I’m also a former nurse & was fairly local to you so we may have met)
    I love my retirement years. I have a Mazda Mx5 car, so roof off: & wind in my hair (& hearing aids!): an allotment for exercise, growing produce & chatting up old men: fantastic 5 year old twin gc & Poppy the border terrorist for walks. Off to Amsterdam at 4.20 am for the day on Saturday with book club ‘girls’ to see the doll houses from ‘The Miniaturist'” & buy tulips. Venice the week after with Mr C.
    I’m 70 in early 2017 & like most women of our age have some health issues but life is getting shorter & needs to be lived to the full.

    • 11th October 2015 at 11:15 am

      Hi there Jacqueline, it’s so nice to meet you and hear that you love the retirement years. Mine have been very nearly the best years of my life in that I have finally had the time to develop my creative side; the writing, the films and indeed, my wardrobe!! Like a lot of people I have some health issues (e.g. at the moment, I have a tooth problem not helped by my intolerance to antibiotics) but they’re all minor issues. And life really is about living it to the full, and always tackling the next challenge. Just loved your description of you and your car! Go girl (or should I say woman?!) x

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