Attitudes towards ageing are changing. More and more people are embracing the perks of getting older, such as increased confidence, more life experience, and greater freedom.
People are also living longer, happier lives than ever before with the average life expectancy in the UK rising to 81 in 2020 – and many scientists have claimed that today, ‘60 is the new 40’.
These days, there are a growing number of stories about people in their 50s, 60s, and beyond making exciting career changes, enrolling in university, going on new adventures, and/or breaking records.
Take, for example, 52-year-old Abi Rooley-Towle, who’s following her dream of being a singer-songwriter; 83-year-old Han Van Doorn, who created a life-changing app at 83; and Captain Tom Moore, who raised £38m for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic by walking laps of his garden.
But outside of these stories, there’s still a lack of dialogue around the everyday, positive sides of ageing, which are just as important.
With this in mind, we asked Rest Less members what they enjoy most about ageing – and we’re pleased to say that the response was incredibly positive (so much so that we ran out of space to include them all!).
We’ve chosen a selection of the responses below. We hope that you enjoy them as much as we did!
We asked Rest Less members… What do you enjoy most about ageing?
1. “Freedom. Being able to do what I want, when I want.”
2. “I suppose it’s the realisation of how many things don’t matter. Of course, you’ve still got to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head – but as for things like “What will people think?” or “Somebody might say something.” Those two examples matter very little.
“I have my over 65 rule, which I apply rigorously. That is to say that now time is recognisably finite, I don’t waste that time on people or things that aren’t worthy of that time.”
3. “I absolutely love that the older I get, the less people expect me to conform. I’m not in a competition, I don’t have to fit in or be like everyone else. I can just be me and people say, ‘That’s just the way she is’. I love it!”
4. “Most of the big, stress-inducing, responsibilities of life have come and gone. Just freewheeling now.”
5. “Lots of minuses, like aches and pains they never warned you about. But so many pluses as well – free bus pass, which gives you the freedom to roam whenever you like. Knowing that now you worry less about what others think of you is a plus. Not having to keep down a nine-to-five job if you’re lucky to be retired. And most importantly, knowing that all of your children are old enough and capable enough to look after themselves when you’ve gone.”
6. “For me, at the age of 63, it’s the realisation that what people think of me or the way I live my life is actually not relevant to me or my wellbeing. I now have more time to spend with the people who actually matter to me and make a difference to my life just by being in it.
“It’s nice to have the freedom and the time to do the little things in life that make me happy. Life is no longer Monday-Friday work, and Saturday-Sunday chores and getting ready for the following week. Now, it’s more “I wonder what today will bring”. I just love that feeling and going with the flow – no dramas. I am more comfortable now just being me.”
7. “I’ve been thinking about this and realise I could confuse growing older with finding myself unexpectedly single again. But anyway, I am now enjoying doing my own thing. I can eat what I want, when I want. I can paint my bedroom purple if I wish to (I don’t). I’m not trying to find a partner to raise children with – I go on dates just for fun.
“I’m semi-retired now so I can enjoy a good hurkle durkle (lie in often reading, playing on phone, drinking tea etc) a few times a week. My life isn’t quite as I expected it would be but it’s good and relatively stress-free. I am lucky to enjoy good health and have no complaints about getting older so far.”
8. “There are two obvious changes that I noticed:
- I try to enjoy more, as I think every day is a bonus these days!
- People trust me and respect me more. Because I look more mature!”
9. “I’ve said it before (and I’ll say it again!) – the fact that I only need three shops these days – Vision Express, Boots, and Greggs. My life is just specs, drugs, and sausage rolls! But on a more serious note, I do generally shop and buy far less than when I was younger – and that suits me fine.”
10. “I order something online. Then, when it’s delivered the next day, I don’t have a clue what’s in it until I open it. It’s like Christmas every day!”
11. “Confidence. I just wish I’d had it when younger. Not giving a hoot what anyone thinks of me is what I live by. Your opinion of me is none of my business. I have tattoos and hair dyed in colours that some see as ridiculous for my age. I’m still listening to rock music loudly and growing old disgracefully. I’m 57.”
12. “Eating chocolate for breakfast if I want to, chilling in my PJs until mid-morning if I want to (there are days when these two things coincide). Not being embarrassed to ask for help with the physical things I can no longer do (darn those pesky jar lids). Trying new things and not worrying about success/failure, but just enjoying the activity. Really not worrying about the forgetful moments (anyone know where I put my keys?) because I’m not having to meet deadlines.”
13. “When I was in my teens and twenties I was of the opinion ‘not my problem what you think of me’. Then I got married and had kids, and it did seem to matter. Now I find myself on my own again and, apart from a few people, it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of me so long as I know I’ve treated them as I’d want to be.
“On the plus side, I no longer have to watch soaps apart from maybe reruns of Soap (who remembers that one?). I can listen to my vinyl whenever and as loudly as I like, and rediscovering cooking again is delicious. What’s not to like!”
14. “Doing stuff for me and putting myself first.”
15. “I can’t answer that yet as I’ll only be 75 in 18 days time. Still living the Jenny Joseph poem, ‘When I Grow Old I shall Wear Purple’, although I am practising and wearing orange today.
“I organise a telephone helpline for unwell people and love being at the beck and call of some 150 telephone responders of all ages – the younger ones keep my mind young and the older ones remind me of where I could be if I move into God’s waiting room.
“I’ve had a chronic disease for 16 years but I live by the saying: ‘I didn’t invite it into my life so it has to live with me, not the other way round’. Some would say I must be a lonely little old lady living with just my cat – ha!
“My cat is notorious for chasing other people’s cats out of their own gardens. I say he’s not evil, just high-spirited. I’m notorious for asking women in supermarkets if I can borrow their husbands. Well at 4′ 11″ and needing something on the top shelf you’ve got to, haven’t you? A few women have actually said, ‘Please, take him,’ but I’ve been there, done that and a relationship would only hinder my life’s pleasures now.
Ageing? Come back and ask me in 20 years’ time.”
16. “Putting my alarm clock in the bin.”
17. “I have the freedom to choose which day I want it to be. I very rarely get told what I should do. I no longer have the pressure/responsibility of creating an environment for my children to flourish. I don’t take every day for granted and try to make each day count, the pleasure or doing something or nothing. I haven’t gotten to the part yet where I feel I need to leave a legacy.
“Free wheeling seems to strike a chord.”
18. “I don’t seem to worry as much anymore. I still have worries in the same way most people do, but I’m more relaxed about what people think of me or my opinions. Or that crease in my skirt, or there’s a hair out of place. It’s not that important – not really. Being five minutes late, or taking a wrong turn in the car… All these things used to send me into a blind panic, but they don’t so much anymore. It’s a good feeling. I’ve just turned 55.”
19. “I’m definitely more flexible (although my joints aren’t). I also sincerely feel more appreciative of and compassionate towards myself and others.”
20. “Apart from my Freedom Pass and a variety of over 60 discounts, I have to say I don’t even think about age. I realise that health care will be almost non-existent for me in a few years, which does cause concern – but I’ll just have to look after myself better.
“Ageing really doesn’t bother me. Never has, apart from when I reached 30. Lol. Ageing is what we do from the minute we are born. I may have a few years left or a few decades. Either way, I’m working towards making sure I fill those years positively. I’ve got things I can and want to do.
“Don’t stop me now!!!!!”
We'd love to hear from you!
You’ve heard from some of your fellow Rest Less members what they enjoy most about ageing – and now we’d like to hear from you! What do you enjoy most about ageing and why? Leave us a comment below!