I read on Sunday, in the Observer, about a new documentary film that I believe has The Mom written all over it. It’s about these spectacular women who are over 65 and are some of the most fashionable ladies going.
They don’t appear to be bothered, in the least, about how old they are. In fact, they seem to be having an awful lot of fun.
This is where The Mom and I differ. It’s got to the point now where we’re not even sure if we’re allowed to celebrate her birthday. She talks constantly about being old. Which is both true and not true. The age on her driving license entitles her to seniors’ discounts (which, I must point out, she is not averse to taking advantage of), but the way in which she conducts herself screams teenager. Sometimes something in a more demure twenty-something, but generally, she’s in the throws of her second youth.
But she is touchy about it. In part, I think, because she doesn’t feel the way older woman are portrayed in the media. She doesn’t knit, isn’t about to take much lying down, wears short shirts, and to look at her, honestly, you wouldn’t think senior citizen. But she loathes it, the idea of getting old.
Whereas I, on the other hand, think it’s great. Because, and this may have slipped The Mom’s mind, but old people can do whatever they want. If you’re a senior citizen, you can go to the pub in the middle of the afternoon, get a bit day drunk, go home, have a nap, and get up again later when you want dinner. And nobody judges you. Everybody thinks, wow, wish that was me. Senior citizens are also allowed to shout at pretty much anybody who’s about to do something stupid. Little kids riding bikes on the sidewalk, idiot drivers, and in general people who are rude. They can do this because they know that nobody is going to give them any back talk. Because they’ve seen more than the rest of us, and bloody well know it. And they also know how to function without the internet, and so are therefore infinitely more capable. I, for one, can’t actually do anything without the internet nearby.
Anyhow, I know it’s not all golden for older people, I’ve heard the horror stories about elder abuse in care homes and the like. And I know there are plenty of people who are not part of their communities and who are very lonely, which is terrible news indeed.
But then I think about those ladies in the documentary. One of them is over 90 years old, and is sharp as a tack. To her, old age means freedom to be who and what she likes, and if that changes every day, then so bloody be it. The story I read talked about one of the ladies going to visit her friend who has dementia in a care home. And the two of them sat side by side in lawn chairs belting out show tunes for over an hour. Just for the sheer joy of it all.
Which to me sums up the best bits about being old: you can sit with your best friends all afternoon and be silly. It’s like been a kid or a teenager again, except this time round you’ve got a Visa card, a valid passport, and you can buy wine.