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Life begins at sixty

Closeup of a charming attractive old woman

Over the years I had often heard the saying ‘life begins at forty’ and now, from my position of…been there, done that…I feel able to speak with authority and personal truth when I say that was definitely far from the truth, at least for me. Your thirties are good years in many ways as you are young, in your prime and you can still see the possibility of dreams coming true. In your head, old age and retirement seem so far away they don’t even come into the equation. They are not part of your concerns. How could they be?

But suddenly you are no longer in your thirties, you are in your forties and the next big milestone is fifty. You are now well aware that you can no longer be called young and according to many people, especially those in business and many other areas of life you are suddenly considered old and past your sell by date. Everything is focused on the young now and the rest of us are out in the cold and unimportant. At this stage we become much more aware of our own mortality which has crept up on us unnoticed as we powered our way through our thirties. As a consequence, for many of us, it all starts falling apart in our forties and we become fearful and vulnerable. We worry about going grey. Wrinkles seem to appear on a daily basis and our backs start to cause us problems. Instead of life beginning at forty it seems to be ending.

Don’t panic! There’s light at the end of the tunnel in more ways than the inevitable one. As you reach your fifties you realize just how much you have learned about yourself over the years and you are beginning know what works for you and what doesn’t. Even though you are still upset that, while you may feel like a twenty year old inside, you don’t see a twenty year old when you look in the mirror. The fifties are the years of coming to terms with the inevitable. It’s hard, very hard to let go of the fact that there haven’t been any wolf whistles for many years and there never will be again. In fact you will now have realized you have become invisible, unless, of course, some one wants something. Being middle aged means you are neither young nor old, you will often feel taken for granted and undervalued. This process is a big learning curve for most of us and we learn acceptance and hopefully, become less judgmental, not only of ourselves but of others also.

By the time you hit the sixties you begin to realize you have hit the jackpot and here I’m talking about my own experience. As I reach my birthday this month and acknowledge that in two more years I will be seventy, my allotted life span of three score year and ten, I see the rest of my life as a bonus.

The pressure is off, no longer do I need to prove myself, I don’t have to impress anyone ever again, in fact I’m having fun impressing myself. This process started as I ventured into my sixties and has got better and better. My health has improved and I know what exercises work for me. If my weight creeps up to unacceptable levels I can quickly and easily shed a few kilos because I now know exactly what works for me there too. This year I decided to become a little more computer literate and set up a website which I have done and I am now determined to make it viable. It’s been a challenge but here I am, someone who struggles with a cell phone tackling my computer, with the help of a son. My sixties have brought me a freedom like never before and I no longer feel the “got to do this or that ” anymore. I’m free to do what I choose and feel very comfortable saying no when I need to.

For the first time ever I feel the world is my oyster and I can do what ever I like. When you are invisible no body notices what you are doing, they are just not interested, so there is no interference and no criticism. What a pleasure…roll on my seventies.

I was born in London during the second world war. I was brought up on the whiskey trail in Scotland and studied art at Grey’s School of Art in Aberdeen where I met and married a South African in Nigeria in 1965 and now live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have done energy healing and been a psychic artist drawing guide portraits for over thirty years. As I grew older I have become interested in anti-aging and alternative health.

Margaret A Paulson

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