Friday, 10 June 2016

Hints on growing young.

One thing is certain in this life - we begin to get older the day we are born.   Rich or poor makes no difference, we get older by the day and then one day we realise that people see us as old.

I took early retirement from teaching at 50, so have now been retired for almost thirty four years.   Very difficult to realise I can tell you.

My mobility is not brilliant.   I tell you this because yesterday's post chronicled how I fell on the path in the front garden (when I told the farmer that I had gone down with a real bang, his reaction was to say he was not surprised because when I fell I always went down like a bag of muck) (and yes, I do love him dearly in spite of his choice of words).

I have a badly arthritic ankle on my right leg and ditto knee on my left leg.   Other than that I am reasonably fit for my age I believe.

My advice for staying young, for what it is worth:-

1.   Never, never, never sit around doing nothing, or reading all day, or being alone.
2.   Take an interest in everything that is going on in the world, in your town/village, in your street.
3.   Build up a large circle of friends and meet them regularly - for coffee, for afternoon tea, for outings to various places, anywhere so long as it involves GOING OUT.   Staying in the house day after day is soul-destroying.
4.   You might find your old hobbies become harder to do, or you might lose interest in them.  This happened to me with my music.   For some years in my 'previous life' I was a semi-professional keyboard player (piano, organ, harpsichord) and accompanied , took part in shows, occasionally actually putting them together (Variety shows in the large school where I worked), taking leading parts in the Gilbert and Sullivan productions of The Pirates of Penzance (Ruth) and HMS Pinafore (Buttercup) then after retirement playing early music in concerts around the Midlands where I lived.   When I came up here and my musical husband died I gradually lost interest in piano and the other early instruments I played.   Eventually I gave my piano to my son (it was a much better one than his), who teaches music.
That doesn't mean I didn't fill my time with other things - like this blog for instance.
5.  Have some friends from younger age groups - they help to keep you young and to put a different slant on your way of looking at things.
6.   Above all - get involved.
Don't moulder away into old age and antiquity while you have your faculties.   The time may come when they begin to leave you both mentally and physically.   So while you have them, make full use of every minute.

Reading through this a couple of hours later I think I might have suggested that reading was not an activity for the elderly.   Far from it.   In fact I myself read at least three books a week.   The thing is that reading in isolation is not making contact with others, so I feel it is better to discuss with others what you have read.  A lot of my friends belong book groups, I go to a poetry group.

There are so many activities to get involved in these days.   U3A (University of the third age) is big news up here - possibily because it is an area a lot of people retire to.   I have friends more active than I who walk a lot - the farmer (ten years younger than me) walks every other Sunday with a walking group (I go out to lunch with a group of friends on those days).   I know a lot of folk who garden enthusiastically, who keep bees, who sing in choirs.   My friend W is a fantastic ukulele player and plays with several groups.   The point I am making all the time is to keep involved and not become inward-looking.


Terra Hangen said...

I am retired too and have similar beliefs about an active and fulfilling retirement. Getting out of the house is key for me too, and having a circle of friends to have lunch or coffee with, and Bible study at church. I hope you are ok after your fall, now I will read your yesterday's post. Hello from your blog friend in California.

Maria said...

I hope you are not bruised and feeling pain today, Weave?
This is very good advice, especially staying in contact with people who are younger than us can help us understand a changing world.
Greetings Maria x

Sue in Suffolk said...

Phew! thank goodness you are back today with no lasting ill effects.
In so many ways you just never know what will happen around the corner. Take Care

Frances said...

Dear Weaver, I am so glad that you did not sustain more serious injury from your fall. Today's post is a gem, and is very timely for me to read.

Last evening I received a call from one of my brothers (who never wants to speak to me) telling me that our Mom was in hospital. The freak accident occurred when a somewhat younger friend came to collect Mom so that they could join some other friends for lunch. The friend was helping Mom into friend's car when my Mom fell, and fell onto her friend, knocking her to the ground, too.

Both shared an ambulance to the hospital. Very dear friend had surgery last night for broken hip bone. My Mom will have a pacemaker inserted within the hour. Mom is 98 and was very certain she wanted this procedure when we spoke this morning. All sorts of family drama are now waiting just off stage.

May I tell you again how glad I am to have found your posts via our mutual friend Elizabeth. xo

Derek Faulkner said...

Your suggestions for staying young make perfect sense and does fly in the face of myself who has been retired for ten years. I have never had much of an outside the home social life or large groups of friends as you have and that does weigh against me. Especially in the winter, I do find that the days can be very long and boring, not so this time of the year because there is plenty outside for me to do. So clearly the advice that you give does seem to make perfect sense. You also run a good blog and are always ready to accept and show, opinions that might not necessarily be the same as yours and as I have found, been willing to quietly ask a question by E-Mail. You are a credit to your family and to Yorkshire, long may you continue to be so.

Dartford Warbler said...

Wise words Pat! I`m trying hard to follow a way of life almost as busy as it was during my working days. The pace may be a bit gentler but the variety of activities and a wide circle of friends makes life just as good as it ever was.
I hope you soon recover from that fall.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Great points - well made. Some days just going out on the deck in the sunshine and waving or talking to the neighbors who are walking past is a good thing to do. The chats cheer me up when I'm not able to do much else - and the fresh air, pretty flowers and singing birds are a cheer-up too. I always make sure I dress nicely, bring out the pretty deck cushions and make a pot of tea (hot or iced, depending on the weather) to share with those who might want to stop and visit.

galant said...

What a lot of good, helpful advice, but first I hope you are feeling less sore! I too have arthritis, and a weak left ankle and weak left knee. Indeed, all my left side is pretty ropey, I need a left-hand-side body transplant!
I am catching you up, I'm in my 70s and husband is 80. He's been retired for 18 years. I agree that getting out and about is important, but we tend not to socialize all that much as both of us don't like going out in the evening as we get tired and I simply can't sit through a concert without getting very stiff and achy. My interest is writing (I write for magazines) and I love reading (it goes with the territory!) and we have two lovely sons and their partners and a lovely little grandson, so we help out where we can. By all means join things, especially if you live alone, but having been a member of a choral society (in the days when I had a voice), and having started our local branch of the National Women's Register (I'm no longer a member) and having been a long-time member of a writers' group, I don't now belong to any groups as I love to spend time with my husband as time marches on but for those on their own, joining things is a lifeline, I'm sure. As Derek says, you are a credit to your family!

George said...

Good advice, Pat. Hope you are recovering from your unfortunate fall.

galant said...

PS I would like to add that I always try and dress nicely - even if it's for doing the housework - I wash and dry my hair daily, use makeup and nail polish, and husband and I go out regularly for coffee and lunches (just light lunches - my advice here for those with a smaller appetite as they age is to share a meal, we do this often especially as portions are so large these days! We order one portion - often only a starter, too! - and ask for two plates. No one has ever objected, and if ever we have a dessert (which is a rarity) we share that, too. Husband wasn't happy about doing this to start with, but I've now got him nicely trained up! When I go out with my women friends we often share a dessert - women seem to do this, chaps don't, but now husband and I will share ices or a crème brulee, but only on high days and holidays! We don't indulge all the time!
Margaret P

Heather said...

I had to laugh at your husband's 'bag of muck' remark - he sounds as romantic as mine! I do so agree with your views on old age. Keeping busy and having plenty of interests is so important. It is not all bad - having time to stop and stare is no bad thing.
Hope the bruises are coming out and not too painful.

Barbara Womack said...

I'm so glad you aren't badly injured after your fall!
Your points on "growing young" are well taken and should be followed at any age.

Librarian said...

I came home very late last night and had to leave early again this morning, so while I did see your post about your fall, I did not have time to comment.
It did worry me a little, though, and I am relieved to read from you again today, and that you did not need to go to hospital.

Something I value above all else is my own mobility. I have never learned to drive and have no ambition to learn it now, so I absolutely depend on being able to get from A to B on my own two feet. The day I won't be able to go on long walks anymore will be the beginning of the end for me. I simply need walking (and a bit of running and dancing every now and then) to keep sane in mind and body. In two years' time, I'll be 50, and I hope to be able to keep my current level of activity for the next 50 years :-)
(But I must admit I very occasionally "take a day off" and do nothing but reading and/or watching TV all day, when it is the weekend or a holiday and the weather keeps me indoors and I have nothing "important" to do.)

Rachel said...

My mother dressed well each day, and put her make-up on and had her hairdresser visit at the house each week and her colour done too until the day she died and was always happy and well read and active in her business life although not so much in a social life with others because that was the way she had always been but many people from the agricultural community visited her, and she did the crossword each day but she did not live so long. I hope you are better from your fall. Mum used to do that do.

jinxxxygirl said...

Hi Pat,

I'm so glad to hear you are not too much worse for wear after your fall.... what a 'lovely' sentiment from the Farmer....ahem.....

i agree with everything you say about growing older. I'am 48 but very much a loner. My husband is 58 and very much a social bumble bee... We kind of even each other I prefer my solitude but i will keep your advice in mind... :) Hugs! deb

Virginia said...

That is such wise advice! You are a gem Weaver!

I had a much loved aunt who lived alone, but went to bridge, every social event she could, and kept a keen interest in the young people she met. I also noticed that even when she was having a (rare) "doing nothing day" she gat properly dressed in good clothes, so she was ready to go out and about if the opportunity arose. I hope I'll do likewise.

Becca McCallum said...

I think having alone time is very important. I would suggest that a day spent reading a book is not a day wasted, but a rare opportunity to spend time with oneself. Your other suggestions are good though.

angryparsnip said...

Great post today !
Words to live by.

cheers, parsnip and thehamish

Cro Magnon said...

I'm sure you are 100% right. I am working 'physically' far more than I ever did before, and in summer I swim a lot; I'm sure I'm fitter than I've ever been.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the kind comments. Can't write much here this morning as I am going out for coffee with a friend who is collecting me in about half an hour. Lunch is already prepared to pop in the oven when I return. I am taking Cro's advice and trying cooking cabbage in the oven with lots of garlic butter - it sounded so good that I am sure it will taste likewise.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Interesting reflections but I don't agree with all of your thoughts. The guidance points may be right for you but not for everybody. We are all different. For example I believe that it is good to be inward-looking as long as this is balanced with an outward-looking perspective too. Also I think that spending time on your own can be deeply rewarding, away from social tittle tattle. And I could never be part of a book group. The idea appals me. For me reading and writing are deeply personal, private habits. I guess it all depends on the life that one has led. As I say we are not all the same.

Mac n' Janet said...

I agree with everything you said, you have to keep moving, mentally and physically. I took early retirement too, that was 13 years ago and I think these may have been the happiest years of my life. Taught myself to play piano, we went out dancing a couple of times a week, we travel, I read, work puzzles, started crocheting again, it's been wonderful.

Beverley said...

Excellent advice Weaver.

thousandflower said...

Really good advice.