If you’ve got adolescents in your life who think being a teenager is the most difficult thing in the world, point them in the direction of Ms Helen Mirren for a cold, hard dose of the truth.
The revered British actress has given a frank assessment of ageing in an interview with the The Telegraph, saying that growing old takes a certain about of bravery and isn’t the blissful decent into a life of retirement that many would believe.
“When I was in my late 30s, my mother gave me some fantastic advice. ‘Never be afraid of getting old,’ she said, ‘because when you’re 20 the idea of being 35 is horrific. When you’re 35 the idea of being 55 is a nightmare, but as you get older you realise that you have the tools to deal with it.’
It’s not the first time Mirren has spoken out about the realities of ageing, which are so often ignored by the younger generation.
As seems to be the case for every generation, the young cannot imagine what it’s like to enter the last quarter of your life with a whole new set of challenges to face. While retirement is something most people work towards for years, it comes with its own baggage – much of it good, but some difficult.
Relationship dynamics change, money often gets tighter, and loss of friends of relatives is inevitable during the later years of life. Tack on increased health issues and the rising cost of living and it’s easy to see why it takes a tough shell to battle the realm of ageing!
However, while it’s not all peaches and cream, it has to be said that the good really does outweigh the bad when it comes to growing old. There’s grandchildren, more time for yourself and a sense of being comfortable in your own skin.
Earlier this year, Mirren told The Mirror that getting old doesn’t bother her and she sees it as a privilege more than anything.
“I see life as a gift and I enjoy it. I embrace it,” she told the paper.
And when asked by the paper whether death was something she needed to be realistic about at her age, she responded bluntly: “Well, yes, and why not?”
“It’s not something you can hide from at my age and why not have an open discussion and see death as full of life and a celebration of liberation,” she concluded.