My eldest grandchild started at comprehensive school yesterday in common with many thousands of other 11 year olds. She looked so grown up in her new uniform that I wondered where the years since her birth had gone.
All grandchildren are special but this one will be to me a constant reminder of the passing of time. The day she chose to arrive in this world was the day I buried my father. I attended my father's funeral Mass and followed his coffin to the graveyard where he was buried with my husband who had died 20 years earlier. Immediately afterwards I went to the maternity hospital to meet my first granddaughter and to greet my first daughter who was now a mother herself.I experienced the height and depth of both joy and sadness.
Time passed and the joy deepened and the sadness lessened as another grandchild arrived.Contrary to my expectations, and indeed my preconceptions of being a granny, I felt rejuvenated and embraced the whole experience of being the oldest generation. Once I had accepted the fact that I was no longer young in actual age (as someone said, growing old is not an option, growing up is) I threw myself wholeheartedly into the pasttimes of childhood and even reintroduced to my grandchildren some of the joys of my childhood such as hopscotch and skipping. Okay, my knees creaked abit more but my heart was soaring with joy. I found the sheer exuberance of youth infectious and the simple way that children accept each other an inspiration.
Old age or senior citizenship or whatever you may call it can be a wonderful age given reasonable health. Wisdom comes with white hair and widening waistbands and tolerance of faults and foibles of your own or other people seems easier to achieve. We can enjoy our grandchildren and indulge them a little without the hassle or hectic schedule that seems to be the ,lot of today's parents. We can impart our knowledge and skills and in turn learn from them the modern skills of today;s technology
Even if you are not a grandparent there has never been a better time (in my opinion ) to be a senior citizen. Improved healthcare, travel concessions and better leisure facilities all contribute to a more enjoyable life and I would urge ALL older people to overcome any fear they may have of modern technology and become computer literate and start surfing the web.. There are many classes for older people (my own brother who is 69 years old is a teacher of such a class, his eldest 'student' is 83! ) and apart from learning new skills the social contact and friendships formed are invaluable where meals (and jokes). are shared and money saving tips are passed on.
There is a wealth of information available on diet, health(both mental and physical) and exercise for the senior generation plus plenty of fashion and beauty tips of anti-ageing, after all we may not be in the first flush of youth but we can still look and feel good and like fine fine we get better with age.! Be positive, we may have been born in the first half of the last century but we still have a long way to go. Enjoy the journey.