Lately we’ve been thinking a lot about old age.
Lizzie and Becksie visit a lady who has become a very dear friend, and a few things and the impending 2nd anniversary of Becksie’s Nana‘s death have really got us thinking. Today Becksie writes a letter to a future self in the hope that it will help her deal with this most difficult of challenges.
Dear older, hopefully more patient and understanding, Becksie.
As I write this your hair is brown, you have a few wrinkles (but not many). You are just 30 and it feels like being 30 has opened a real realisation to you – that you will age and those around you will too. It’s a sad and scary fact but if your sitting here reading this don’t be bitter if your body or mind don’t work so well, be grateful you have the privilege of old age. Many don’t and would love to be sat where you are right now.
I hope you have lived a very happy, colourful and carefree life. I hope sincerely you heeded your lovely Nana’s words to store up many memories. I’m hoping your discovering her words to be great advice. I’m guessing she was right that as you sit there these memories are what you live to replay and remember.
Don’t make things hard for your child Lizzie and any siblings that by this point she has had for many years. She and her team are doing their very very best. Just like when they were tiny and needed care you were winging it because it was new to you, they too are winging it now. Did you get it all right? No! Did you pick all the right battles? No! Did you bend the truth to make it easy because you loved them dearly and had their best interests at heart? Yes! Don’t be cross with them or those around them, they are doing the best job they know how to do. Thank them and tell they are doing well, your reassurance will still matter. Remember whatever decisions they make, right or wrong, they are doing it for you because they love you. If you feel angry with them do the loving thing and wait until they are out of the room before you explode.
Don’t worry though I am not asking you to lose who you are, that stays right until the very end. That’s inside. Your body can get weak or your mind start to get fuzzy but you remain. Remind people of this. If you are able, challenge people talking as if you were uninvolved in you. If you are unable I trust you instilled this notion into your children enough so that they can challenge it on your behalf.
Remember body functions are normal and not to be ashamed of, you’ve been having them a long time and if anyone rolls their eyes when you make a mess remind them what an expert you are at having these body functions. Apologise if you wish but feel no shame!
Put your feet up – rest them on higher ground. Remember how cross you got with your Nana’s refusal to do so. You wanted her to do it to reduce the swelling and relieve the pain. It’s your turn now!
Eat and drink what the heck you like. You’ve waited a long time for the day where an entire tray of brownies still warm from the oven is ‘ok’ to eat in one go. See there are perks to old age as well.
Get your hair done at every opportunity, paint your nails or demand (kindly) they be painted for you. Have a wash and get dressed every day that you can – even if it means accepting help. Keeping clean and tidy, facing the day in your best will make this better.
Talk to young people with kindness and grace. Tell them your advice but in the right fashion and at the right moment. You may be old but you can still have a laugh and its amazing how laughter winds back the years.
Go outside (or ask to be taken outside, waiting patiently until someone has time to take you), breath in the air, hear the birds. Close your eyes and be the younger you – the breeze will still feel the same. Go outside at night and look up, the stars will look the same as they do as I’m writing this. No one can change that. Technology will have changed but those stars will be constant.
Write down your story. People need to know. What you’ve done is incredibly important and someone somewhere will be very interested even if its only your grandchildren.
Feel a sense of pride and self congratulation, you did the best possible job that anyone anywhere could have done. Feel no self doubt, you were the right woman for the job of you.
Be at peace with yourself and the world and when it’s time to go do so with courage and not fear. See it as the next big adventure.
All my love
Becksie (aged 30)