We took care of our children when they were young and needed us, but as soon as the table turns and we get old (at least in their eyes) they think we are incapable and want to interfere with our lives. The is an ad on the radio where a man rings his mother ‘Hi Mum’ he says ‘I don’t want to disturb your listening to Simon and Garfunkel or whatever it is you’re listening to (bit patronising) but you ought to think about Equity release – you mustn’t worry about me, just take the money out and then you can do the things you want to do, like repair the car and visit Aunt Pat in Ireland’. Poor old Mum must be living in a hovel if all the equity release from her house is going give her is a couple of thousand pounds.
As we get older our brains atrophy – well we don’t necessarily think they do but the younger generation do. We obviously don’t know anything – particularly about babies – even though many of us have succeeded in raising our own children to adulthood we did it all wrong. We put them to sleep on their front, their sides, their back – don’t we know how dangerous these positions are – they have to be hung up by their heels – that is the only safe way! We ate cheese and liver while we were pregnant – didn’t we realise how dangerous that was? And some of us drank! How irresponsible we were. We still think that we can drive and live in fear of our children confiscating our car keys. Our children think our houses are unhygienic. Is it because we aren’t obsessed with germs or that our failing eyesight doesn’t see the dirt! My mother’s house was filthy from the smeary glasses and sticky surfaces to the balls of dust visible to me (though presumably not to her) under the sofa. My house may not be pristine – I doubt that anyone other than a Labrador would want to eat off my kitchen floor but it is hardly Ptomaine Towers. My digestion is fine but this may be because I regularly eat food that is past it’s sell by date. After the family have been to stay I often have to delve into the bin to rescue perfectly good tins that have been discarded because they are a couple of years beyond their allotted time.
Much of our knowledge is considered worthless – and probably rather boring – we are living history. We remember when there weren’t any seat belts. We’re not too worried (at least I’m not ) about having to turn down the heating after a childhood spent in a freezing house where I had to put on dressing gown and slippers over pyjamas to run down an icy passage to the bathroom where the floor was covered in cold unwelcoming lino. We wore jumpers indoors in the winter. The idea of wearing a t-shirt in the house during the cold months would have been unthinkable.
We supervised our children’s every move when we were conscientious parents, and now they want to supervise ours. My son would like me to wear one of those alarms round my neck in case I ‘have a fall’. I have tried to explain to him that only old people ‘have a fall’ – I ‘fall over’ – that is quite different. I regularly go flat on my face while out with the dogs when I trip over a tree root or put my foot down a rabbit hole, but so far I have managed to get up and carry on without any serious injury to anything apart from my dignity. I confess that I don’t exactly spring to my feet as I might have done once, but this doesn’t mean that I am ready for the emergency services to turn up in force whenever I stumble. He has however put a tracker on my ‘phone, so presumably if I have a heart attack while out and about someone will be able to locate my lifeless body. I see advertisements for wonderful ‘retirement’ complexes and I think that they must be quite nice for old people, but then I realise the I am old – probably a lot older than the people in the ads who are seen ‘enjoying a joke’ with a member of staff – and it must be lovely if you are lonely or infirm but the most important thing is to avoid either of those things.
Many years ago on a skiing holiday we bumped into John, at a restaurant on the top of the mountain. He was looking worried. He told us that he had just finished lunch when he was approached by a fellow guest from his hotel who had asked if she could borrow £100. John imagined that she didn’t have enough money on her to pay for lunch (this was in the days before everyone had credit cards) so he lent her the money. She then explained that she had just had her 80th birthday and that she wanted to try para-gliding. Her children had thrown up their hands in horror and ‘forbidden’ her from doing any such thing, so now that they had all gone off to ski she had decided to launch herself from the top of the mountain. She had set off in tandem with an experienced instructor. John spent an anxious few hours until the old lady turned up for dinner that night none the worse for wear. I assumed he was worried that if anything had happened her family would have held him responsible but my husband thought he was probably much more worried that he might not get his money back! Her family were simply furious with her – on the rather unreasonable grounds that she had returned safely. I thought it was completely splendid of her and rather hope that I might have the courage to do the same. Most of us remember certain seminal moments in our lives – where we were when JFK was shot or Diana. Princess of Wales died and for the young it will doubtless be where they were when the heard the news about our late Queen. I remember vividly the first time an attractive man offered me his seat and I realised to my horror that he wasn’t flirting with me but doing it out of respect for my advanced years!!! So what can we do about anno domini? Not much except keep moving, keep using our brains and most important of all keep laughing.
Stella, I can’t download your latest … or maybe I’m just way past my sell by date!! Xxx
Doesn’t it work if you try this link – http://www.hasanyoneseenmyglasses.com
Lots of love, Stella xx
Stella Sykes Follow my blog on: http://www.hasanyoneseenmyglasses.com
Wonderful Stella! Thank you. Keep on keeping on! Xxxx
Thank you – glad you managed to see it eventually!!! xx
Brilliantly put! Although I have to admit I’m probably, no, definitely not going to want to go paragliding or bungee-jumping and to be fair, none of our children have suggested we release the equity on our home. But I do get a bit disconcerted when my children say ‘but you’re old now, mum’, and my lovely daughter-in-law (who is an Occupational Therapist) talks about handles in the bathroom and the right kind of chairs we need to have as we are shortly going to buy some new ones and even my husband talks about ‘doing such and such in preparation for when we need it.’ It could get a bit depressing if you let it! As far as I’m concerned, I’m not in a hurry to start letting old age in!
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