After a certain age, the desire to sugar coat things drops markedly away.
There are a couple of reasons for this. 1) The memory starts to go and the lies get harder to keep track of. Unlike politicians, most of us live without video proof of what we have said in the past. If you start forgetting what you have said, you are better of just telling it like it is.
Over 50’s know this, that’s why if you ask someone “does this make my bum look big”, you are more likely to be told the truth, and 2) time is running out. Who has time to waste now that the yard arm is over the half way mark?
Being honest is faster. Say something once, and let it be done. No one’s got time for toing and froing. If that doesn’t suit your delicate sensibilities, best you read the next point.
Rely on their experiences to see past today.
The older you are, the more stuff you’ve seen.
Divorced because it turns out your partner was gay? No biggy, seen that before. Angelic child ends up serial mass murderer with a propensity for making bags out of human skin? Not my first time to this rodeo either. Oh, you want to save the world by teaching yoga and veganism to starving North Koreans? Let me know how I can contact your lawyer, and hey, pack light.
It’s not that being over 50 makes you cynical, it just makes you a little battle hardened.
That’s why, when you ask someone who has seen a lot, or done a lot, you are getting value for money. People over 50 have lived through one or two financial crises, they have seen us get to the brink of war before, they know about pandemics and heart break, and staying positive and being brave, and love, and loss.
They have made it past their childhood diseases and yours, they have made it through their adolescence and yours and the 3 decades after that. They have picked up some wisdom. They are much harder to shock, they are much better at seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and if you ask them, they will share what they have learned through actually being there, instead of relying on second hand academic rhetoric. People over 50 know how to hold on for one more day, because they’ve done it more than 18,250 times.
Make time for the important things.
Plenty of things slow down over a certain age.
Physically, we take longer to heal, stuff starts breaking and falling apart. Maybe that’s why, after 50, the things that once seemed trivial or a waste of time suddenly become important. Things like relationships, and kindness.
Things like sitting down for a coffee with a friend, or taking care to notice the sky, or smell the roses, or talk to children. Of course, we don’t all suddenly become soft grandparent like figures when we hit the second half of our century, but we do start to question exactly what it is that matters most.
Easily the thing that grabs the over 50 year olds attention fastest is their health. Without it good health, all the rest just fades away regardless. We need to be well in order to live longer, so they heavy lifestyle of our past starts to be replaced with the desire to future-proof ourselves from illness. ‘Stuff’ matters less as we age. People matter more. In truth, people always mattered, but it’s only after you’ve lost a few that you start to realize that. Age brings perspective. It teaches us that we are vulnerable, and if we are smart, we heed that warning.
Ask anyone over 50 to list their top 3 most important possessions and health and relationships will be somewhere on that list. Ask a 20 year old the same question and those two things will only be in their top 5.
There are something’s that can only be achieved by time. The great irony is that, by the time we have learned that lesson, it’s the very thing that starts slipping away. No matter. Be happy.
Being older is a blessing not granted to everyone, as they say, but if you make it past the noise and haste of the first 50 years, you are sure to come through it with a lot to offer.
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