Hi everyone

I shall be changing my details in my bio again, and this time it’s my age. Yes, last week I turned 76 – how did that happen? I had a wonderful day as, because of the Platinum Jubilee my birthday on June 2nd was a Bank holiday, so the kids were available, Oscar was better and we all had a lovely get-together at my daughter’s, which for me was the best kind of birthday.

But before I show you some photos of that day, I just wonder what you think of ageing?  As in, really and truly, what do you think when you think of older age?  I read a lot including anything about ageing, and I see there’s always something being written about this subject, usually by people who are much younger than me.  It’s often very positive, urging you to do this and that. And from their vantage point of being 50 or 60 something I think they see much of what they urge you to do as preventative and I wonder, truly, if they see themselves as old, really old, or frail? Because every now and then after reading these very positive exhortations I think You. Have. No. Idea.

For me, last year’s birthday was not the best as reaching 75 seemed a huge hurdle to get over. For me reaching 70 was no problem. My head was still in my 60s and I behaved no differently to how I was in my 60s, which again was no different to how I was in my 40s. At the age of 70 I was ageing slowly and I had nothing much wrong with me apart from my sightly dodgy guts and that was something I’d had for decades, so no change there. But turning 75 I thought, wow, that’s half way to 80 and I didn’t want that, and huge apologies to anyone reading this who is over 80 as I know that was so ageist. But that’s what I thought, I realised I was no longer in my early 70s, which  meant being, well, old and not middle-aged any more. I mean thinking I was middle-aged was pushing it a bit as I think we might be seen as the young-old. But I have got over that hurdle. I now think ageing into one’s 80s is all about defiance, a lot of maintenance and, to a certain extent, acceptance. Plus living the life to its fullest, bad grammar?, but you get what I’m saying?

If you look around we can see that we all age at different rates, and there is nothing worse than seeing ages lumped together, with the over 65s seen as the last age group in surveys. I always feel outraged when I see that, as the differences between the 65-yr-olds and the 85-yr-olds must be huge. I can see this, and I expect you can too, as I look at the differences between some of my friends, one of whom had an arthritic hip in her 50s and a replacement in her 60s, while my hip did not mean a thing to me until April 2021 when I was 74, that’s when I felt it. I have another friend same age as me who has had two hip replacements in her early 70s and now needs a knee replacing. Other slightly younger friends who have just reached 70, seem to be similar to me at that age and have nothing much wrong with them at all.

But having reached the ripe old age of 76 I can definitely say that several things have begun to stack up and go out of kilter, and the battle to just maintain the status quo is, I have to say, quite hard work.

Interestingly while there is no end of advice on how to age well, I’ve read some recent research which showed why people suddenly become more frail in their 70s (which you can read about in more detail here) but in short it is to do with a dramatic reduction in stem cells. These apparently go from 20,000 to 200000 different types of stem cells in adults under 65 to some over 65s ending up with only 10-20 distinct stem cells producing white and red blood cells, with quite obviously huge consequences for health. This, they argue, goes some way to explain the sudden fragility of many over 70s. My reaction was well, thanks a bunch scientists, that’s not what I want to hear. That’s rather like my cardiac consultant, who says to me, when I ask, ‘why me, when I’m not overweight, I eat the right diet, I don’t smoke, I take exercise’, and he replies, ‘well, the thing is, you may look ten years younger than you are, but your circulatory system is ageing’, and he actually said, to me, ‘it’s old’. Well thanks for that…but no thanks… is what I think when he says that! However, back to those blood scientists, they do say that now they understand the process they can work on halting that process. Well, all I can say is get on with it!

Recently there seemed to be a lot in the media about ageing well, which while I won’t go through, mainly because it does seem to boil down to three things which are:

Eat plants – yes not exactly ditch the meat, but eat much less of that. And, of course, eating less meat is good for the planet, of course. But do eat that huge variety of plants, 30 different plants each week. Can you do it?  I think I eat nearly that, let’s see:

Potatoes, cauliflower, carrots,  peas, greens, cabbage, cavala nero, red onions, white  onions, broccoli, peppers, courgette, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, pea shoots, rocket, beetroot leaves, beetroot, apples, oranges, bananas, blueberries, yay!  Done  it! And don’t forget the seeds, loads of seeds. For me, it’s linseeds every day for you know what.

Move – it doesn’t matter how you move but move you must. We looked after Oscar for the entire afternoon a couple of weeks back. He’s very active and I was kneeling down, getting up and then down again and walking around with him for 4 hours. Did I feel any aches or pains or stiffness afterwards? No, nothing. That afternoon was like a full body workout and I felt amazing even the day after. A couple of days later I sat down the whole morning to do some writing, and boy was I in pain thereafter. Sitting kills me, so I always aim get up every 20 minutes when I’m writing but I forget and always feel the consequences.  Then there is the Pilates class and my once a week 1-2-1. I could not do without those.  But it doesn’t matter what you do – just move!

Be positive – as much as this world allows you, so cut that news programme out, as there’s not much to be positive in the news these days. But we can see the best in people, friends and loved ones, we can email, and text and meet because yes, socialise, join something, and get out. Ha Ha, as if we could for two years but while that’s not over, we can do more, if we’re careful.

And I always feel positive when I dress up!  On my birthday I felt like getting out my goth gear! I mean what’s the weather like where you are? It’s June and we’re still having quite cool and wet weather. Mind you the sun is out today and it feels a little warmer. Good, as this summer I have worn one dress once, and that was when we went up to London mid-May. So on June 2nd I wore this.

The top and belt are charity shop items, the rest, skinny jeans from Mango, and my studded boots.

I bought myself a present.

An M&S biker jacket!  My old one finally hit the dust and was sent off back to a charity shop where I got it ten years ago! And here’s a close-up of a 76-yr-old!

See that card on the shelf? Mr F made that – he’s clever like that! – it’s from one of those dress patterns. Here it is.

I used to make all my clothes, but I never made anything as nice as that. Here’s wishing for the weather to wear floaty dresses!

We had pizzas and cake at my daughter’s. Here’s the cake made by my daughter-in-law Marion. It was absolutely delicious.

Actually the cake and presents came after a walk and as we were setting off, with me lamenting that I’d forgotten to bring a sun hat, my darling daughter, Susie, gave me her present, a hat! How I love hats!

It was lovely to wear on that day, which was quite sunny. This was taken in the wood near the children’s park.

I do love the colour yellow!

And here finally, is a happy family at play!

That’s all for now, but do tell me what you think of ageing – and I mean, what you really think but don’t always say.

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

instagraminstagram
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
Tagged on:                                 

50 thoughts on “What do we think about when we think of ageing?

  • 9th June 2022 at 11:26 am
    Permalink

    Great to read your post. Very interesting. I’m 81 now. Frankly I think old age is a PITA! In myself I feel really well, energetic etc. Trouble is I’ve picked up things in the last few years that no one can help me with: peripheral neuropathy (muscle wastage in legs and now hands) being the worst and the one that drives me mad. Nothing like having to be a ditsy old woman always falling downstairs – or hoping some nice people will come along and pick me up in town when I fall over! Drives me mad and makes me so tired. So I’m jolly well not going to accept it. I’ve found some great exercise classes on You Tube run by Leslie Sansome and they’re called Walk a Mile at Home. No bending, no floor, all standing up. So I do that, go out shopping, put on makeup and remind myself to take care when crossing the road! Falling over in front of a bus wouldn’t be at all good for the driver, after all. Anyway, good luck to you all and let’s have a drink to ignoring old age! 🙂

    Reply
    • 10th June 2022 at 7:49 am
      Permalink

      Hi Ann and I know absolutely what you mean, those little things that stack up I mentioned, one is my balance and another is, am I getting that peripheral neuropathy? My feet are quite small and what with the high arches and my tendency to roll my feet outwards I have to work to flatten them so there’s at least something on the ground that supports me. Then I don’t think they feel exactly as they did when I was younger. So, I work on my feet, and the balance a lot with my Personal Trainer, and I think exercises that focus on your particular bodily needs are the way to go.

      Good on you for putting on the makeup, I put it on even if I’m not going out, although going out every day is a must now. Onwards and upward Ann and you absolutely have the right attitude!

      Reply
      • 10th June 2022 at 8:19 am
        Permalink

        Hi Penny, thanks for your reply. Please don’t think you’re getting peripheral neuropathy – starts with your feet going numb and your leg muscles (from your lower back to your big toe) wasting slowly – hence falling all over the place. Think I look like a windmill sometimes, being 6’1″ ! Got to laugh!
        Have a good weekend. And I so agree – onwards and upwards!
        Ann

        Reply
  • 9th June 2022 at 11:28 am
    Permalink

    Someone once said to me “age is just a number” well that number is now 78.How on earth did that creep up on me? So, yes I’m with you on the ageing process but people like you give us the positivity we need. You’re an amazing lady who never shies away from the truth but meets life head on so thank you for your words of wisdom.

    Reply
    • 10th June 2022 at 7:52 am
      Permalink

      Thank you so much for those kind words. I feel exactly like you and I think that phrase, age is just a number is usually said by people who feel fine. When the ageing process begins to stack up that’s when I think 76, gosh and …. But I put on the makeup and my glad rags and off I go, because hey that’s the way to be positive. Thanks again Barbara 😊

      Reply
  • 9th June 2022 at 11:53 am
    Permalink

    Interesting that you should ask that question this week. I have just turned 70 and I feel like I am trying it on for size at the moment. I’m thinking I feel pretty much as I did when I retired 7 years ago. However when I think of ’70’, I think of what 70 looked like when I was 20, my grandparents who had all had hard lives with little money to spare and none of that to spend on themselves. My own life and that of most of my friends has been quite different. I wonder how today’s 20 year olds picture ’70’, because we are surely portraying something quite different, with our jeans and trainers and biker boots. Having said that it’s pretty clear that the media generally is still stuck with my mental picture, regardless of what they must actually be seeing in front of them…but then of course, we’re invisible aren’t we?

    Reply
    • 10th June 2022 at 8:14 am
      Permalink

      Happy Birthday to you! I think 70 is an OK age and if all goes well, you will feel no different in five years time, but I just found turning 75 was the pits. I don’t feel like that on my 76th birthday. Yes, agree, we are different to the way our parents were at this age. And there’s a definite difference between the post-war and the pre-war generation which I see in the place I live in now and before that in Brighton that are for the over-65s: use of technology, laptops, iPad, streaming and having a mobile for starters. The media tries to adapt to us boomers but they still use those hands as the absolute depiction of old age. Actually now I’m 75 I’ve got those hands, but I shall be like Iris Apfel and wear bright red nail varnish and huge rings to draw attention to them rather than them hiding away. Thanks Bronwyn

      Reply
  • 9th June 2022 at 1:56 pm
    Permalink

    I loved reading this Penny. And I think you’re spot on with those 3 things. Especially being positive and dressing up. People think that clothes make no difference in our lives, but just the event of getting dressed up signifies specialness.
    The eating and moving is something that I wish more doctors would discuss on a regular basis. That’s really why I think the functional medicine providers are becoming more popular. You just can’t expect to feed our bodies crap and still feel good!!
    Happy, happy birthday to an amazing woman. May your year shine as much as your smile.
    XOOX
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    Reply
    • 10th June 2022 at 8:18 am
      Permalink

      It’s interesting you draw attention to the phenomena of ‘functional medicine’. We wouldn’t find that on our NHS which, bless it, saves us all from bankruptcy but is sadly nearing bankruptcy itself as it struggles with underfunding. Setting that aside we have to find holistic practitioners elsewhere and it is usually fairly easy to find. My Pilates teacher is very holistic and there are others out there we can read about and link up with.

      Thank you so much for your kind birthday wishes xxx

      Reply
    • 10th June 2022 at 8:20 am
      Permalink

      Thanks Mireille, I did love dressing up in my black goth gear! Yes, watch the running, I guess you’ve got the right shoes for that – very important.

      Thanks again 😊

      Reply
  • 9th June 2022 at 3:00 pm
    Permalink

    I don’t feel 75 but I know I look my age. I only felt depressed by a milestone birthday once and that was when I was 30, imagine I felt past it then! I had two strokes last year and the only change is that I seemed to look older overnight so I consider myself very lucky. Since then I’ve made a big effort to overlook the small things, like my husband not obeying me, helps with stress.

    I wish you many happy returns you certainly look years younger than 76 and always scrub up well :).

    Reply
    • 10th June 2022 at 8:26 am
      Permalink

      Oh gosh, Flora, two strokes, yikes, was it your blood pressure? How horrid, hope the French health service has sorted you out. And as for looking a bit off colour I’m not surprised. But a bit of makeup can sort that out. Do look at the YouTube videos done by Tricia Cusden on makeup for older people – she’s very good.

      https://www.lookfabulousforever.com/beauty-advice-for-older-women

      And thanks for the kind words and birthday wishes 😊

      Reply
  • 9th June 2022 at 3:12 pm
    Permalink

    I love that pattern Penny! I would like to dress in that way every day but I’m not slim enough through the middle and I can only do high heels when I don’t have to walk far. Someone once told me that I looked like I was going to a cocktail party when I had on an ordinary dress and cardigan. I replied that she had obviously never seen me dressed up for such an event!
    I’m going to be 70 in a few weeks and like you I’m wondering how on earth that happened. I’ve already lived years longer than several friends and relatives so I should be grateful, not upset. I’m having an Afternoon Tea for about 17 family members, enough people so the ones who don’t speak to each other won’t be too obviously avoiding each other. I think the pandemic has had a very ageing effect on me and HI because staying at home is the lifestyle of the elderly with health and mobility problems. I’m exercising to avoid the latter but I find myself breathing hard on stairs and inclines now. I don’t eat anywhere near as many different plants as you do ; much as I quite like veg it does not taste as good as cake, no contest. With my diagnosis I’m unlikely to be alive in 5 years or even less so real old age need not concern me. I’ve seen it with my parents, who lived longer than they wanted to because their quality of life was so impaired, & it was not a pretty sight.

    Reply
    • 10th June 2022 at 8:34 am
      Permalink

      Living with frailty is not the best thing at all, which is why I work on my exercises and like you have a 1-2-1 which caters entirely for my personal physical needs. In my view everyone over 70 should have one, I wonder if anyone has done a cost/benefit analysis of that as it must surely save the NHS in the long run. The trouble is of course, nothing is ever done on a long-term basis, ah well, I’ll shut up on that.

      I agree that the pandemic which is absolutely not over yet was two years down the drain which wasn’t the best for people our age. But we can do a little more now – phew!

      Dressing up is such a tonic, but wish the weather would warm up slightly as I still find the dresses rather too cool to wear at the moment. Perhaps I should try with leggings underneath and a very warm cardi over it. Your tea-party sounds great and the best way to celebrate your 70th – again I hope the weather warms up for that.

      Thanks Lynda

      Reply
  • 9th June 2022 at 5:37 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Penny ,
    Great post and I am in the group age is just a number ! Your physical age can be different to your mindset age so clever human beings can be 3 ages in one body is my opinion, Wanted to write and wish you belated Happy Birthday and think you look amazing !

    Reply
  • 9th June 2022 at 5:39 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Penny ,
    I am in the group age is just a number ! Your physical age can be different to your mindset age so clever human beings can be 3 ages in one body is my opinion, Wanted to write and wish you belated Happy Birthday and think you look amazing ! I particularly like your leather biker jacket . It reminded me that I have a leather jacket somewhere stored away .

    Reply
    • 11th June 2022 at 8:10 am
      Permalink

      Hi Yok, and thank you so much! Yes, that phrase, age is just a number, I used to think that in my early 70s when I had nothing much wrong with me. I still have nothing major but the number of things are stacking up and I don’t say it any more. I would agree that my mindset age is way younger than the image of a 76-yr-old and that I’m always looking for the next project, and the next charity shop bargain and I use all the technology that younger people use. But still when these physical issues begin to impede ones life, I stop and reflect and think hmmm, this I don’t like.

      However, I will say that the move to Lewes has shaken me (and Bill) out of a rut and we do far more than in Brighton (of course, that was due to the pandemic). So it was such a positive thing to do, to move, as living in Lewes makes think onwards and upwards, so that’s all good.

      Do get that leather jacket of yours out and wear it – bet you look good in it!

      Thanks again x

      Reply
    • 11th June 2022 at 8:13 am
      Permalink

      I love that – a free ride around the sun, yes, that’s the right attitude as the alternative is….. Thanks Nicole, never a truer word 😊

      Reply
  • 9th June 2022 at 6:47 pm
    Permalink

    Happy birthday Penny. I too agree age is just a number. However we should also be grateful if we get to a good age as sadly a lot of people don’t make it. I’m 67 and have had two very serious health problems, the first in my early 40s and the second last year, both of which I’ve overcome but which have made me grateful to be here still enjoying life, loving fashion, music and reading. Thank you Penny for both of your blogs. Would love to see you back on Youtube too but only if you enjoy it. Xx

    Reply
    • 11th June 2022 at 8:21 am
      Permalink

      Hi Christine and thank you, and you are so right, it’s true that we need to be grateful that we are still here, as I have had three friends die in the last two years, all from cancers rather than Covid, and all younger than me. But age is age and I do look square in the face at my ageing and it is happening, we can’t live in denial or I can’t. On the other hand the thing is to live that life we have left to the absolute best and enjoy what we enjoy, which like you is fashion as well as for me, it’s looking and going to museums and art galleries and feasting my eyes on beauty and things that challenge me.

      Yes, in agreement with you totally 😊

      Reply
  • 9th June 2022 at 9:57 pm
    Permalink

    happy birthday, fellow gemini! [i turned 72 on 5/29, exc my hips, which are still in kindergarten] your b’day outfit is terrific, and i really like your glasses–i just got a pair of roundish blue and another pair roundish gray [zenni.com, astonishing price 🙂 ], and strongly colored frames are the best ever, yes?
    re: aging, i’m alarmed to hear about this ‘getting frailer’ in one’s 70s since i still bike 10 miles or walk 10K steps more-or-less daily. you hit all the nails on the head abt eating well and,especially, moving–i read of a doctor who wished he could put the benefits of exercise into a pill for everyone to take.
    tho i’m in pretty good shape for 72, i have to be a bit more careful abt anything involving balance–getting off the bike, walking on lumpy or loose rugs… yes, even maintaining a normal [??], active life requires more effort. i bet losing one’s sense of balance causes or contributes to many of the falls that do so much damage, even to the “young old” [as opposed to the less active, “old old”].

    Reply
    • 11th June 2022 at 8:32 am
      Permalink

      Wow, I’ve just looked at zenni.com and am amazed at the prices as you wouldn’t believe how much I paid for the pink glasses – they were a gulp price! But I have a complicated prescription and also pay to have the lenses thinned as they would be bottle tops and very thick without that process. Still I might see if they could do this.

      Yes, I rather wondered if I should have put that bit in the blog about the stem cell research but the scientists were quite gung ho about the fact that understanding the process will help them look at it and prevent it, which is a good thing if they do.

      Yes, I’m with you there as I walk loads more now I’ve moved to Lewes and I do my daily exercises, but gosh that balance thing, I have to really work hard on it. It has deteriorated and I can’t walk down steps without holding on to something – such a bore. It requires a lot of effort, to retain that ‘shape’, doesn’t it!!!! But good on you for riding that bike, and doing it so regularly. Keep on with that and you’ll be fine!

      And here’s wishing you a belated happy birthday, fellow gemini! 😄

      Reply
  • 9th June 2022 at 11:19 pm
    Permalink

    It’s interesting how some birthdays hit harder than others. I found 60 hard but the rest are just flowing along with 65 just weeks away. Thank you for the sensible advice on eating and moving. I’m trying to sit on the floor once a day at least to make sure I can still get up! 🙂

    Reply
    • 11th June 2022 at 8:38 am
      Permalink

      Actually getting up from the floor is soooo important! Do you do chair sit/stand ups? I try to do those as part of my exercises. It’s all about retaining the muscle strength.

      And being 65, I remember how that was, you are such a youngster! Thanks Kerry 😄

      Reply
  • 10th June 2022 at 3:53 am
    Permalink

    This is an excellent post, Penny! When my husband asks how he got to be so old, I always tell him, “You didn’t die!” I mean…that’s the nuts and bolts of it, isn’t it? If we don’t die, we age. If we die, we don’t age. It would be nice to be Dorian Gray but without the nasty portrait! We are currently in the middle of moving to a one story home…well, we’re waiting for it to be built. My husband is so happy about this as he won’t have to climb stairs anymore. I find them good exercise and often find excuses to walk from one storey to another. While I don’t feel particularly old (my knees, on the other hand, do), I see my husband aging more and more every day…he will be 70 next year so maybe those blood scientists have it right. I keep telling him (and myself) we have to keep moving and keep young at heart. Gosh, I could go on and on. So, I will leave it at this: If you are what 76 looks like, then I’m going to be thrilled to hit that!

    Reply
    • 11th June 2022 at 9:03 am
      Permalink

      Hi Marsha and thank you for your kind words! Yes the alternative to ageing is …… and we don’t want that yet! It is important I think it be honest about the whole ageing process, it is hard work to maintain the status quo but also we should enjoy living our lives and enjoy our projects which I do especially connecting with bloggers and people like you across the world. That’s the way to live. And good luck with your house build what an exciting project to have!

      Have a lovely weekend 😊

      Reply
  • 10th June 2022 at 6:18 am
    Permalink

    Oh what a lovely day you had with your family. And how thoughtful off your daughter to give you that beautiful hat. I have no problem with my age I do have a problem with life going so fast. You see, I want to live forever!

    Reply
    • 12th June 2022 at 8:28 am
      Permalink

      I do love that hat! Ah yes, we all want to live a long and good life – may we all do that!

      Reply
  • 10th June 2022 at 7:39 am
    Permalink

    At 71 I feel young but know my body isn’t. Apart from angina I have really good health with few aches and pains so really lucky there. But I am aware that energy levels are not those of a yong person and that the body does not repair itself so well.
    On the other hand there is such a freedom that does not exist when you are a working mother. And the possibilities of adventure and travel are very much there.
    I read that piece in the Guardian plus another by Oliver Burkman today. His advice is good. Live the moments we have, not the future or the past.
    Thank you Penny for such thoughtful pieces on both this and your other blog. Proof that aging does not mean that the mind and passion and care for life fades.

    Reply
    • 12th June 2022 at 8:34 am
      Permalink

      Same here – I think young but my body is beginning to age and I have to face that. Of course, I work to maintain it, but it’s a big effort, but thankfully I do love the Pilates and 1-2-1s and the weights. You’re right live in the now. I, too, read that article. It’s actually hard to do that though, and quite a discipline. But it’s the best way to live. So onwards and upwards and put on that lippy and frock and enjoy life as much as we can!

      Thank you Christine – have a lovely Sunday 😊

      Reply
  • 10th June 2022 at 8:29 am
    Permalink

    Firstly, a belated happy birthday, Penny.

    Thanks for this honest and thought provoking blog. You asked ‘what do you think of ageing….. of older age?’

    You’re one month younger than me and I agree there was a distinct difference between turning 70 and 75. I too find it bloody irritating that people in their 50s write books about ageing. As you say, they have no idea. But then, how can they? We can’t know – until we know it.

    And, anyway, doing things/stuff is not always the answer; by our age we’ve already done a heck of a lot of what they’re suggesting. (We might be older, be we’re not stupid!) Aside from ‘doing’ – perhaps now is also a time ‘being’: for taking stock, appreciating and, like good wine, maturing … but that can take us into dangerous territory.

    I believe this feeling is linked to needing (having) to face the fact that we are in the final quarter of life… and, with the best will in the world, no amount of healthy lifestye, make-up, clothes, exercise and good food (much as I love and do all of that) can hide that fact – and the inevitable – we haven’t got long left. If I allow myself, I find that thought very scary.

    We’ve been living a healthy lifestyle for over 40 years: very little meat, plenty of fruit and veg and exercise etc. I do think it has helped us weather some of the storms of ill-health/ageing – but not all. I’ve had a knee replacement and Derek (husband) has had colon cancer. The last was a huge shock as he has never smoked, always been sporty and two months before diagnosis was playing badminton for Oxfordshire (aged 74). I think the healthy lifestyle has helped the recovery and we’re back to exercising/walking every day. (I now realise our healthy lifestyle helped in the denial of ageing too!)

    Yes, we all age differently and luck does come into it: genes, upbringing, circumstnces etc. But I agree staying positive is a good idea – for ourselves and those around us – being around negative people is very draining! There’s lots of evidence that people who believe they’re ill or may die soon, frequently do.

    Our parents did not expect to live long into old age and were all dead by our age, but we are fortunate in that we’ve had two excellent role models: Freda still plays the piano, is an ace bridge player, walks in the park every morning and does 10 mins on the exercise bike in the afternoon – “To strengthen my thigh muscles”, she says. Freda is 94. Whereas our friend Bill was an excellent ballroom dancer and wine buff. He made his own bread and was a keen organic gardener. He was a regular letter writer to The Guardian. He would have been livid to have died (in his sleep) a month before his 99th birthday. Being a republican, he was determined to refuse a telegram from the Queen on his 100th birthday 😉 As you can tell, they both have/had a strong life spirit.

    I believe I mentioned before Oliver Burkeman’s book, 4000 Weeks. Essentially it’s about how we view/use time. It’s main premise is about us all being in denial about our limited lifespan – and once we acknowledge that, time has a different meaning. I would highly recommend it. It was given to Derek (husband) as a present then I read it and sent a copy to a friend. Now we have a little group exploring our feelings about time/ageing, fears, desires, to do lists, living life to the fullest etc., etc. (What’s it all about, Alfie?…)

    75 years old. Wow! I don’t like ‘old’. I prefer ‘older’. Less static. Of course, there’s still life in us to enjoy ourselves and be happy, contented. Happy and contended (those young writer don’t mention that much, do they?) One of the things I’ve admire about you, Penny, is your recent house moves. Not one but three in just a few years. I know of many older people living in places where they don’t feel happy/have no sense of belonging because ‘it’s not worth moving “at this age”. Even replacing things like carpet or bed linen is discounted. Of course, moving home is mega but so is ‘hanging on’ when places, things, relationships no longer suit us. In a way it’s discounting ourselves.

    So, my intention is continue my exercise and eating well, painting my nails, wearing make-up and clothes I feel good in and enjoying my favourite pursuits. I have a couple of projects and am still honing my bridge and cooking skills and – this is a surprise – aim to do less travelling. Sometimes I even allow myself to do ‘bugger all’. I am ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’, ah, that sounds better 😉

    Happy days !

    Mary

    Reply
    • 12th June 2022 at 8:47 am
      Permalink

      Oh wow, what a lovely response and thanks for the kind words and birthday wishes. Yes, we all age differently and those major issues come even when we live what we think is a healthy lifestyle, it’s the genes and so many other factors coming into being. And yes, what changed for me was that 75th birthday. That was the time when I came face-to-face with and acknowledged that actually no matter what we do in the eating, exercising, and ageing-well stakes, we don’t have all that many years left. So what do we do? We need to live that life we’ve got at the moment as best as we can! And wear that makeup, put on that frock and go out and enjoy that life you’ve got left.

      You know what though, I find it very difficult to do nothing, I find it hard to sit and read a novel during the day, too much to think about and too much to write. But I do feel blessed now I’ve got a little patch to garden, I do love rummaging around for the weeds and nurturing the plants I’ve planted and thinking about the plants I will plant – that’s my doing nothing during the day!

      Thanks Mary for that thoughtful comment – have a lovely Sunday! Happy days indeed!

      Reply
  • 10th June 2022 at 11:02 am
    Permalink

    what a fabulous;, thought provoking post. I love your attitude to life and dare I say it “ageing” – very positive and acceptance that it comes to us all, whether we want it or not.
    I loved your black “goth” outfit – your look amazing – don’t ever revert to the floral elasticated wait skirt and blouse look – so very ageing if ever any outfit was. The black jeans and biker books/jacket look fabulous on you – you definitely have a knack of seeking out the bargains at charity shops – quite a skill id say!! Personally, I dress pretty much the same as I did 20 years ago – loving tie dye, camo, leopard print and any other “quirky” fashion i can find!! I don’t care what people think to be honest – im 66!!
    Keep writing your marvelous posts – really look forward to reading them and always get inspired one way or another by them. Oh and by the way, i thought the birthday card using the old sewing pattern was inspired – fabulous and very original/cleaver!
    xx

    Reply
    • 12th June 2022 at 8:54 am
      Permalink

      Thanks Joan, and you know what I really hate blouses, don’t know why but I hate that loose effect and always prefer the jeans and top look with a jacket, preferably a (faux) leather jacket. Mind you if we had just a little bit of warmth, which I believe might happen this week, I will wear a dress, but always with trainers and something that makes it a bit edgy. I do like the sound of your style, cameo and leopard print, yesss!

      And yes, we have to admit to the ageing bit at some point, because of the years that have passed, but in the meantime we can also enjoy our lives to the full – that’s what I aim for anyway.

      Thanks Joan – have a lovely Sunday 😊

      Reply
  • 10th June 2022 at 6:27 pm
    Permalink

    (Belated) Happy Birthday wishes! Stopping your blog from Ten on the 10th…and enjoyed your post today! Great outfits, too:)

    Reply
    • 12th June 2022 at 9:16 am
      Permalink

      Thank you Jennifer – have a lovely Sunday 😊

      Reply
  • 11th June 2022 at 12:24 pm
    Permalink

    A Belated Happy Birthday, Penny! I am usually quick about responding to your writing but, I must admit, this post made me “sit back” and reflect. What do I really think about aging? It’s not for sissies!!! One must have gumption to face the ongoing challenges of aging!
    I hate to admit it but I wonder if I’m a denier!? I mean I am blessed with good health yet, I have not done my walking in about a month! I have finally returned to my twice-weekly, vigorous aerobic class but no walking! I need to get back to this! Self care is not selfish if it helps keep me upright and going! But it does take commitment!
    On the opposite end, there is my husband’s declining health. His needs take up quite a bit of my days as he hasn’t driven in a few years. Nor has he given up his old doctors who are now 60-80 miles away. I finally spoke up about his need to find more local doctors as I don’t know how long I can continue to drive him such distances. I am thankful that he heard me. I admire and support his desire to feel better and get back in the game of life. He has faced a bit of discouragement as in “I’m not getting well.” But recent gains like improved eyesight has renewed his commitment and courage to seek more improvement.
    I have just deleted a paragraph of all that I used to do to express my creativity in these retirement years. I realize that I’ve let them go for other responsibilities to keep our lives running smoothly. I don’t count it as loss but as God’s way to strengthens my gratitude and give me courage for the years ahead. Good friends just celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, recommitted to their wedding vows, and held a great celebration. It was much, much more than “Yay! We made it!” She said they really needed to recommit themselves for the years ahead! That is wisdom!
    Well, Penny, this is why I enjoy your writing…you engage my thoughts, make me evaluate, and set me on course! And talk about courage, inspiration, and gumption, you’ve got it in spades!! Love your birthday look and how your family celebrated you! So deserved!!!
    Thanks for this time of reflection and evaluation. I’m 73 and still want to be the best I can be and, most importantly, I want to finish well. I thank God for preparing me for that.
    Charlene

    Reply
    • 12th June 2022 at 9:28 am
      Permalink

      Hi Charlene and thank you for the birthday wishes and kind words, and thank you also for your thoughtful comment. It is thought-provoking this ageing lark and we need to look squarely at it and then to a certain extent, accept it. But doing the exercises and walks will help us to age as best as we can. I worked with unpaid carers (the relatives and friends who care for their loved ones) for years and one thing as workers we all respected was the work and time that people put into their caring roles, but we also said, you have to take time out and care for yourself. I mean first and foremost you need to be healthy and strong to carry on with your caring, so it’ll be good if you don’t have to drive so far as it’ll be better for both of you to have medical care nearer. Mind you I can speak , ha! and ha again as in the NHS we have doctors very nearby, but because the NHS is cracking under the strain (for so many reasons) we can’t get through to them on the phone, so we all have our issues around getting medical care now even here in the UK!

      But enough of that, you seem well prepared for the years ahead. Again thanks so much for your comment, and have a lovely Sunday 😊

      Reply
  • 12th June 2022 at 3:58 am
    Permalink

    First off, Happy Birthday!

    Another thought provoking post, Penny! Aging is a tricky thing that often gets confused with health or rather the lack of it. And while the two do overlap, because with age our bodies are more vulnerable, they are separate topics. My health has been somewhat of a problem for me my entire life. Nothing life threatening thankfully. But I dealt with severe allergies for nearly a decade beginning when I was 25 or so. To contend with them on a daily basis for years is wearing and puts a huge dent in your quality of life. But I was young then, and most people had little idea that I was taking allergy shots, living on antihistamines, and feeling like crap a lot of the time.

    I admire that you are able to move, do Pilates etc. You are in fact healthier than I am. I developed fibromyalgia when I was 52 and polymyalgia rheumatatica this year. I’m 58. Both of these curtail what I can do (but I keep trying). The doctors stress exercise – yeah I know, I was exercising when I developed the fibromyalgia. LOL! They act like the concept is new to me.

    So yes, age and health, overlapping but separate topics. And we all just need to keep swimming as best we can.

    Michelle
    https://mybijoulifeonline.com

    Reply
    • 12th June 2022 at 10:57 am
      Permalink

      Thank you so much for the comment and yes, having read your blog I’ve read about your health issues – so sorry as they must be quite a challenge – you have a great attitude and are so creative though and it’s super good that you blog and keep in touch with everyone.

      And you’re right as what is happening is that I am ageing and all the issues I have are to do with that, otherwise I am quite healthy. My dodgy hip is kept at bay with exercises and my heart flutters are benign and B/P is under control with a beta blocker, other issues are just minor irritants of ageing like a developing cataract and stuff on my skin. So yes all of that is separate from my health which is actually quite good and I can walk and do my exercises. I think the point I was making was that I had nothing wrong with me at all when I was 70! So it does pull you up short and you think hang on, this age is only a number thing that people keep saying. No, actually the number of years you’ve lived has an impact on your body. There are consequences from getting older and it was that realisation that pulled me up short on my 75th. I think differently now I’m 76, I both accept and work on it. So it is all about doing ones best to live in the now, which is trickier to do than just saying it!

      Thanks so much Michelle – have a lovely Sunday 😊

      Reply
  • 12th June 2022 at 4:00 am
    Permalink

    P.S. I forgot to say how fabulous you look in your Goth outfit! I love it!

    Reply
    • 12th June 2022 at 10:57 am
      Permalink

      Awww! Thank you!

      Reply
  • 12th June 2022 at 4:10 am
    Permalink

    Happy belated birthday Penny, sounds like you had a wonderful day with all your family.
    Your goth inspired outfit was a great choice and looked so good on you. The value of creating an outfit and dressing up can never be ignored , it is so good for our self esteem.
    A dear friend and I were discussing ageing well the other day on one of our regular walks. We are both 68 and have been friends since high school. Exercise was high on our list , eating well and continuing to enjoy playing with our style and hair and make up. Fortunately we are both in good health , be it with a few aches and pains from time to time. One thing I will also add is the importance of being involved with people of all ages. Many thanks for a thought provoking post.

    Reply
    • 12th June 2022 at 10:59 am
      Permalink

      Thank you! I did have a great day with my family, it’s not often one can celebrate the actual day what with the working week so it was an added bonus to be with them on June 2nd.

      I agree that eating well, exercise and dressing up is the best way to live and agree that we should mix with all sorts and all ages.

      Thanks again and have a lovely Sunday 😊

      Reply
      • 13th June 2022 at 8:27 am
        Permalink

        Belated birthday wishes Penny. Such an interesting insightful post thank you.
        A great outfit too especially the yellow.
        Just a quick comment with me and ageing and the shock of balance issues, I’m 69 and awaiting a ENT referral (a years waiting list).
        However I’m still dancing!
        All the best Penny x

        Reply
  • 13th June 2022 at 3:08 pm
    Permalink

    belated birthday greetings – sounds like a fab day and loved the yellow hat, cardi etc. A ray of sunshine is what you are! I hope I look as good as you when I’m 76; it’s a scary age for me as it’s the age my beloved mum died with COPD – she was a life-long smoker.

    Your advice is sound and I will read the article mentioned at the beginning of your post. To me ageing is something we have to learn live with. If I can stay active and mobile for as long as I can I’ll be happy. I do everything I can to ensure this but our bodies continue age despite this. My best friend has always said and continues to say if it gets to the stage where she can’t feed herself and can’t wipe her own bottom she wants out…I tend to agree but having looked after people who couldn’t do either yet still had joie de vivre I’m not sure at all…

    Hope you have a great week
    xxx

    Reply
  • 16th June 2022 at 7:21 am
    Permalink

    My mum is 90 this week. Still amazingly active although she has several health issues which as you say are inevitable as we get older. A new book on ageing says that if we harbour negative feelings about getting old, it actually accelerates the ageing process. Although I’m relatively young at 61, and newly retired, I’m trying to do all the right things to be as healthy as possible. But fully acknowledge it’s a lottery.

    Reply
  • 18th June 2022 at 6:01 pm
    Permalink

    Look at all the love and birthday wishes bestowed on you!! Most well deserved. This post was very thoughtful and honest. I am 64 but have begun rounding up to 65 already, and occasionally 70, so those ages will feel familiar when they arrive. In my head I don’t feel all that different than I did 10 years ago. But I am more cautious. What if I fall? I might overheat. If I drink all that water, I will just need to find a bathroom while we are out.

    We have had Covid in the last 3 weeks. Mild cases, thank goodness. But we are both very tired. And when the weekend rolls around we are sleeping 12 unbelievable hours on Friday and Saturday nights. I have always been a very busy mom, librarian, grandmother, wife and felt tired quite often but this is a different tired. I hope we snap out of it but I wonder if it might become our new normal.

    Looks like you were very well celebrated for your birthday. Lovely birthday cake. Grand yellow bonnet. And you look very trendy, very svelte and chic in your birthday outfit. Head of the class with you! Birthdays are harder these days and seem to come at an alarming rate but there are celebrations. You have a beautiful brightness in your eyes that belies the number of your birthdays. And what a dreamy, creamy complexion. You are an inspiration. Thank you for demonstrating how to welcome the mid-70s with grace.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.