Grabbing life by the throat

Do it, try it, and live for the day. A mantra to live by, because the days we have left are so special. As I approach my 75th birthday I am taking stock of what I once imagined I would be at this age.

I am 75 so I should be in a chair knitting and dozing.




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Well, that may happen on the odd afternoon but mostly it is just not happening. I am out several days a week, hardly enough time to do the essentials, I belong to a writing group and an art group, and meet up with friends once or twice a week. Then, of course, I try to write for Starts at Sixty and even find time to read a book or two. I also love cooking.

I am 75 so I should wear a slick of lipstick and be perfumed with lavender water.

Wrong. I wear full war paint most days and love all perfumes, when I can afford them or when a beautiful friend sends me some (I have been lucky this year). I also put my make-up on as I drink my first cup of tea, as I hate the pale-faced old trout I am. I will do that as long as I can see the face in the mirror.

I am 75 so I should be wearing plain clothes, simple shapes, boring colours.

Well, I do like classic shapes and lines, I even like pearls, but I also own a pair of silver leggings, a see-through kaftan, and many glittery items more at home on a stage than in the high street. I love flowing clothes and a bit of drama!

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I once cleaned the local school. I did that job for 11 years. I had to go to a reception straight after we finished (my husband was a shire councillor) so I wore the cocktail dress and just took my high heels to change into later. One of the teachers working late blinked and admitted I was the best dressed cleaner she had seen. I even garden in glitter sometimes – you know how it is, you see a plant you need to move or a weed growing and just get stuck in and do it, forgetting you’re wearing the best blouse until you wash off the mud! Most of my clothes come from op shops as we are permanently broke but I do find some exceedingly good bargains. A faux fur coat for $8 is a bargain. So is a three-piece jade evening outfit for $10.

I am 75 so I should listen to symphonies and Glen Campbell or some new-age crooner.

OK, well I do like Rod Stewart doing the old songs and I listen to classical ballet music, but I also play reggae, heavy rock and music from my mad days in the ’70s. Seeing me bopping around the kitchen is a truly scary sight.

I am 75 so I should be slowing down, joining seniors playing bingo, and my days should be structured and organised.

I suppose I might be an unstructured person, but I love what I can achieve in a day. Today, I made an impromptu apple cake, no recipe, but it was divine. I broke some glass into small pieces and made two mosaic pictures for a miniatures exhibition. I intended to clean out under the sink as it sorely needs it. Instead, I wrote this.

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I am 75. I could be frail and divorced. Nope, didn’t happen. Fifty five years, so far, as a team.

We both have health issues but nothing that so far stops us moving or getting out of the house. As long as life is kind and we remain fit I know we will both paint and write and drink wine with our friends. For that small mercy I am delighted. I teach a disabled group once a fortnight and we paint together. One lady is nearly blind and challenged in many ways, but she paints. This particular week she did a design of her own. I asked her what she called it and she said “Happy”. For me that says it all – with her difficult and restricted life, she can show us how to live. Be happy.

What do you do to stay happy? Tell us in the comments below…