The comedienne Lucille Ball once said the secret of staying young was to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age. I am all for living honestly, already eat annoyingly slowly and have now developed a strategy of counting backwards and avoidance of answering ‘how old are you anyway?’ which covers the lying.

Age and how we perceive and deal with it is actually at the root of many of the biggest issues we face in our society. 1 in 6 of the UK population is 65 or over. The fertility rate is declining, as is the mortality rate. The under-16 population is shrinking, the over 65’s growing steadily. Population soaring right after WWII and in the Swinging 60’s means that by about 2050 there will be over 7 million over-80’s. That might seem too far in the future to worry about but if you think about the fact that by 2011 there will be 12.2 million people of pensionable age you then see why we have to stop ignoring the problem.

It never ceases to amaze me how we blissfully ignore The Third Age in this country. It is as if by pretending it doesn’t exist then it won’t arrive. When I arrived on these shores a-long-while back I made the declaration ‘if ever I leave this country it won’t be because of the weather it will be because of the attitude towards ageing’. This ‘anyone over 29 is fit for the knackers yard’ attitude is really useless.

There is no use saying ‘yes the government treats us badly’ – we treat ourselves badly. How many of us whinge and whine about how old we are? This aches, that hurts, the other doesn’t work as well as it used to. It is considered appropriate to be curmudgeonly – fair enough until you realize that your attitude rules your reality. Your reality rules your health.

We have an enormous group of people in this country with a lot to offer who are being sidelined. 50 year-olds who can’t find a job because they’re considered too old. People in their mid-40’s frightened by computers declaring they’re just too old to learn something new. With that as our reality what hope is there for the over 60’s, 70’s and heaven help us 80s?

So let us take our hats off to the government in Hong Kong who are putting into place a scheme to open up schools in the evenings and give classes to Third Agers. Before you start saying ‘And who is going to pay for this?’ I would say I’d rather money that currently goes towards things like tango lessons for those of us who are too fond of the buns; and sponsored jollies for MPs; to go towards retraining our older population. Their work ethic is usually vastly superior and many of them want to work.

As time goes by and the money from pension funds and government drains away we are going to find ourselves with a population that needs to be maintained but who in truth would prefer to be maintaining themselves. We need to restructure the way we currently do things so that there is more available work for more people who want to work and that those who currently work are able to do so in conditions more amenable to themselves and the lives of their families.

“In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.”
Edith Wharton (1862 – 1937)

P.S. Speaking of aging……. Morag has decided to instiute a special Hats Off Award. Each week we will Hat’s Off to someone who has behaved in a spectacular way in the previous week. Sometimes it will be spectacularly inspirational etc. but this week is Spectacularly Silly. The First Weekly Morag’s Hats Off!! Goes to LibDem Lembet Opik for his spectacularly crass performance in Parliament this week. Whilst Morag understands that he is proud (as a man in his late 40’s) of snaring a Cheeky Girl (she in her early 20’s) we think that Westminster is probably not the appropriate place to crow. Take your smugness down to the pub and backslap with your mates – the rest of us do not want to hear about it, it is unseemly. Thank you.



Filed under Uncategorized

9 responses to “LIVE HONESTLY, EAT SLOWLY and LIE………….

  1. Bel

    Yes, totally agree. I suppose it’s the least the Government can do after its disgraceful raid on private pensions. I would like to see an end to taxation of pension income, though. I’m sure we can afford it, as a nation.

  2. dolbyn

    with regards to morag finding certain ‘couplings’ as unseemly i’d just like to point out a scientific theory of mine.

    If one consideres that each generation has an alloted finite quantity of good looks then as the size of each generation falls so the relative attractiveness of its members will statistically rise. At the same time at the other end of the age spectrum average wrinklyness and unattractivness will grow as the finite allocation of beaughty to that generation is spread thinner and thinner.

    Inevitably in 10 – 20 years there are going to be a larger number of increasingly less attractive older men competing for the attention of an ever dwindling collection of ever more hot young fillies. Our collective “unseemly” meters are going to need recalibrating.

    To my fellow oldies i have one final thing to say – good hunting.

  3. Completely agree and like the Edith Wharton quote too.

  4. I do hope the Government doesn’t get any funny ideas about extending the school leaving age until the third age… !!!

    Best wishes Shani

  5. I recently went back to work after a four year break to stay home with my kids until they were both in school. I am in my mid 40s and my age never came up in my interview discussions. I was able to negotiate a part time and flexible arrangement that works for me and my company. The shortage of skilled labour in Australia, combined with a culture that is not as obsessed about age allows many older people to be productive in the work force. It is such a loss of social capital to write off this section of the workforce.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s