Roisin Gorman’s Open Letter… on ageing gracefully

In the words of Lucille Ball, ‘the secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age’

Lucille Ball had a great outlook on ageing

Sunday World

Another birthday looms. Let’s not count or we’ll run out of fingers. It feels like the day shouldn’t pass without some great insight, an awakening of wisdom, a pithy takedown of age or celebration of maturity.

Shakespeare could throw out a ‘with mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come’ before he got out of bed in the morning, although he had the advantage of being a sonnet-a-day man.

But who needs profound when you can have, ‘just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed’ from Peanutscreator Charles Schulz.

Even with a lexicon-loosening laxative of a birthday, my brain refuses to deliver anything more profound than ‘do yoga’ — so that’s how deep I’m going.

Kick the autumn leaves, jump in a puddle, spin in the rain. A moment of carefree moderate irresponsibility is a reminder that life doesn’t always have to be about bills and worry. The bills will still be there afterwards.

BE AN OPTIMIST: Relentless positivity is one of life’s irritants but it’s my reflex action in the face of everyday Dementors (the Harry Potter spirits who suck out your life force) who don’t just believe the glass is half empty, it’s rolled off the table and smashed into tiny pieces. If you have a roof over your head, money in your pocket and the prospect of a meal anytime soon you’re doing better than millions. So cheer up or I’m off.

BE KIND:This is one of those hashtags used by people on social media who then wish a painful death on you and your family. It’s being stretched further by the recent Channel 4 survey that Gen Z’s 17 to 24-year-olds might be progressive, but they’re mostly intolerant of anyone whose views differ from theirs. I know, we were all angry and intolerant at that age — plus we’ve killed their planet. Life and work will chip off their edges.

SAY YOU’RE SORRY: If you’re in the wrong, and sometimes if you’re not, own up and move on. It’s a sign of strength.

BUY THE GOOD SHOES:There are enough obstacles in life without sore, wet, or blistered feet. Spend the money.

COOK:Food is the greatest pleasure life offers with your clothes on. Even if it’s just one dish done well, it will nourish your soul.

BE GRATEFUL: If there isn’t even one thing in your life that’s worthy of a bit of gratitude — a parking space when you need it, the smell of a rose in November, still breathing — change your life or change your attitude.

USE THE NICE STUFF: Wear the good pyjamas, light the nice candle, drink the good wine. Life is short.

BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN:Just when you’re moaning your favourite foundation has been discontinued, your husband will cut the tips off his fingers. But on the plus side, his golf swing wasn’t affected.

ACCEPT A COMPLIMENT: We’re hardwired to run away from a kind word, when we should be writing them down and keeping them for low moments.

DON’T HATE:It’s a waste of energy and the object of your ire is oblivious.

LAUGH: In the words of Lucille Ball, ‘the secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.’ OK, I’m 27.


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