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Fifty Shades...of Wisdom

Bette Davis said it well. “Old age ain’t no place for sissies”. Just shy of 50 I am beginning to understand what she meant.

We are constantly told that ageing is bad; it’s wrong; it shouldn’t happen to us and we must hide it. We have pills, creams, potions, diets and surgery to stamp out this vicious condition. 

Billions of dollars are made each year by the anti-ageing industry promoting their latest secret for staying young. Yet we are guaranteed to age every second, of every day and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. There is nothing we can do about it. Age happens.

Kids frequently ask new acquaintances “How old are you?”. What a wonderful question! Straight away, it sorts our the pecking order of the group, often with the eldest at the lead. 

As adults, it’s quite the opposite! Age is rather taboo, it’s such a cringeworthy subject, we conceal it, lie about it and disguise it. We outwardly mask our progressing years, yet on the inside do we feel any different?

Last week I saw a recent photo of myself and was rather alarmed that I looked older than I do when I look in the mirror! How does that happen?! 

Physically, growing older is obvious with the grey hair, wrinkles (or laughter lines), sagging skins, etc. I guess we could say, that as we mature we take on character. But mentally, are we maturing at the same rate?

On holiday way, way back in my mid-twenties I was lounging by a pool at some hotel in the Mediterranean. Next to me was a wee elderly lady with an oversized sunhat and shades. We nodded polite hellos and basked in the sun with our tropical umbrellaed drinks. 

Our reverie was interrupted by the passing by of the ‘cutest-waiter-on-the-planet’.  Both of us women traced his every step until he was out of sight. Catching each other in this act, we fell into a fit of giggles and she remarked “Oh Honey, I may be 83 on the outside but I am a full blooded 22 year old on the inside…and well…he was cute!”

I’ve decided I don’t feel fifty years old at all. My daughter points out my greying hair and I remind her it’s not grey, it’s the colour of wisdom. No, I am NOT going to dye my hair, I’m not going to invest in anti-ageing creams and will stay clear of surgery. 

I’m not going to mask my years of experience and knowledge - I’ve worked very hard to earn this badge of honour! I’ve done things with my life and I intend to do even more. 

I now have the wisdom to really appreciate things I youthfully took for granted. I can appreciate by free time, my friends, my family, my body, my discoveries, my successes, even my dreams. I think I’ll call this newly found philosophy “Fifty Shades of Wisdom”.

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