Holy shit, I’m scared of ageing

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There, I said it. I’m scared of ageing. Here’s why.

I observed two things. A neighbour being spoken to like she was an idiot. She isn’t, I know her, she is 90, sharp as a tack, intelligent, independent, she volunteers, she is healthy, fit, active and is no fool. The only reason she was spoken to like this is because she was older.

The second was a gentleman, who had a walker, he was pitied. He didn’t want pity. It got me thinking.

I find ageing terrifying. Not the fact that I am privileged to age, but how other people perceive age. That terrifies me.

I love that fact I get to age. I’m grateful and it’s not the physical (looks) aspect of ageing that worries me, it’s the slowing down of pace. The share normalcy of ageing is frustrating. It’s a smack in the face, a sucker punch to the stomach and a bloody big wake-up call to enjoy every single minute I have left.

I never want to stop being active

The scary thing is I was the one in my thirties laughing at my parents moaning about their knees, well, that’s me now! In the blink of an eye, I am now that person moaning about my knees and some of my limitations. Do I let it stop me? Hell no, but does it stop me from time to time? The sad reality is yes, it does. Am I admitting defeat? Hell no, definitely not!

It’s just the realisation that my body will change, it will slow, and at some stage it may let me down that I’m struggling with. I know the day will come when I won’t be able to do everything I once was able to do. Even though I am doing everything I can do to slow this down, I know one day I may have limitations, and that scares the hell out of me.

I used to think I’d love being able to slow down, to soak up all the memories and pause, reflect, smile and settle into my twilight years contently. Hell no, because the closer I get to old age, the more aware I am that I will not be able to enjoy the freedom I have now.

It is so very hard to articulate the fear of old age without sounding slightly pathetic. It is not the number I’m worried about, it’s what comes with it, it’s what could happen to my brain, my bones, my freedom, but mostly it’s other people’s perception of it.

I have a great fear of losing my independence, not been taken seriously, losing my mobility and being lonely. That is normal. But what I never want is to be treated like an idiot or spoken down to because I am older.

Being able to enjoy the simple things is key for me

I am going to do everything in my power to change the narrative around ageing and heading into our twilight years.  I want to be that fit, active, strong, alert, active in the community older version of me. I do not want to lose the spirit I have known, and I won’t, it’s not in my DNA, and I certainly won’t let people treat me like an old, decrepit, silly woman, because I will be anything but!

I may be older in years when I am in my 80s and beyond, but I will still be witty and if you come at me with your baby voice and treat me like a fool. Watch out!

There, I feel better. I think what I am trying to articulate is that I want to be respected and treated as an equal, no matter what my age. There, I said it. I feel better.

Have a fabulous day and here’s to us having the very great privilege to age.

Jo x

The co-founder of 50SoWhat has been in publishing for most of her working life. She was general manager of successful boutique media publishing house in New Zealand for several years and boasts an impeccable sales, marketing and management background. When she’s not road-testing the latest cosmetic procedures, or investigating the hottest lifestyle, travel, fashion and beauty trends for over 45’s, Jo is often back home catching up with family and friends, or working on her golf swing!