Strange things happen as you age, and they’re not all as good as gaining wisdom and caring less about what people think.
For example, you become invisible while waiting in line for service; then one day, unexpectedly, the background noise in restaurants becomes intolerable; and there’s the moment when the thought of replacing your recently deceased, beloved pet raises questions like ‘do I have the energy for a puppy?’ and ‘who’ll look after it when I’m gone?’; and finally, you’re shocked out of every vestige of comfort you’ve ever known, when a news report speaks of someone who dies in their sixties as ‘elderly’.
This can only mean the time has come to
#99 Enjoy Age-Appropriate Activities—Without Shame
Becoming invisible after 60 can be partially overcome, I think, by wearing very bright colours, every single day.
In the first, hilarious episode of Fisk on the ABC last week, the main character, played by Kitty Flanagan, arrived for work in a gaudy shade of yellow. She was pilloried for looking like a ‘walking banana’,
but surely that’s got to be better than being mistaken for the office furniture and sat upon, which is what happened when she wore brown and beige?
At least when she looked like a banana, she became somebody, so bring out the colours and ignore any comments, I say.
The problem with background noise in restaurants is a tough one, because not only is it impossible to hear, it’s also so difficult to speak above the din that pretty soon, you end up with a husky voice and an inability to contribute to the conversation.
So if this means turning into your parents and dining at 6.30pm before the crowds, then so be it. Or do all your socialising early in the day. There is no shame after 60.
A solution to the replacement pet has turned out to be easier than I thought. I’m finding that no one rejects an offer to care for their dog when they’re away. This gives you wonderful bonding time with a much loved pet (one that quite possibly has been better trained than your own ever was), takes the worry away from your friends and, as a bonus, doesn’t stymie you if you want to go on a spontaneous holiday yourself.
And if the time between dog-sitting become too long and you’re missing that tactile interaction with a pet, I can thoroughly recommend finding a realistic model that looks just like the dog you’re missing, and patting him every time you walk past.
Advancing years bring out another fabulous age-appropriate trait to take your mind off the accelerating years, and that’s obsessively tracing your own family history after watching endless repeats of the SBS program Who Do You Think You Are?
I particularly enjoy seeing the participants of this show declare their ancestors to be quite blameless, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, or tear up over the death in childbirth of a great-great-grandmother, a woman unknown to them only a few minutes earlier.
My DNA analysis threw up Southern European ancestors as well as a side serve of Irish and Scottish ones, none of which came as a surprise.
But when I discovered that my grand-mother’s 9 year-old sister, Marie-Louise, died of ‘Rheumatic Endocarditis and Exhaustion’ in 1915, what should happen but my eyes began to glisten for a little girl I never knew existed!
Although nothing prepared me for the shock of my great-grandfather’s death certificate, where the cause of his demise was claimed to be ‘senility’. He was only 69!
My mother NEVER mentioned that her beloved Pop was senile. They must have that one wrong.
My great-grandfather would never have died with such a condition.