WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
by Jenny Joseph
I admit it: I signed up for AARP as soon as I turned fifty. While some of my peers do everything possible to deny/hold back their entry into the “golden years,” I dove in enthusiastically. Heck, I made a splashy cannonball. Kasploosh!
No one can hold back time’s progress, so we might as well embrace the life phase we’re in. Fifty-somethings aren’t quite senior citizens, but many of us become grandparents during this decade. I figure I’m a senior citizen in training. If fate doesn’t swoop down on me with a nasty illness or accident, I can probably count on another twenty-five or so years of active life, maybe more. I’m feeling optimistic about this post career/second career phase, and looking forward to becoming a fascinating, feisty old lady. Might as well start training now.
I’m actually getting a kick out of hanging out with older people and trying some typical “old folks’” activities. It turns out I enjoy golf, though I have a long way to go before I become proficient. Those white-haired ladies with a killer golf game are pretty impressive, you must admit. And I love my mid-day Zumba class, which is mostly full of older ladies—say, sixty and up. Molly, our sixty-something instructor, is a paragon of fitness and good cheer. I want to be like her when I reach that age.
Have you heard of Ashton Applewhite? She’s the author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism and host of the funny, thought-provoking blog Yo, is this ageist? How about Dr. Bill Thomas and his The Age of Disruption Tour? Here’s a link: https://drbillthomas.org/?mc_cid=8f0cc3f0cc&mc_eid=d2e30cd7d3
These two consciousness-raisers are making great strides in changing the way we think about ageing, and are excellent role models for junior seniors like me. I have no intention of dying my hair gray—what is up with that weird trend?—but perhaps I’ll start looking for the perfect red hat, just so I’ll be ready.