It’s moody, humid and overcast in the Central Highlands today. The sort of weather I associate with the pre-Christmas season. I like it. It doesn’t have the roar of summer sun and the battle to keep cool and keep new plants alive. Today is gentle. The perfect time to walk through the day quietly going about my chores. It’s on this kind of day when my hands and feet are moving in their well practiced routines of tidying and cleaning, that my mind does its work of sense-making. This sense – making happens when I revisit events in my mind, assimilate thoughts, feelings and simply “Take a moment.”
In the pea-soup of my brain it came to me with some clarity that Ageing Happens in Moments. Yes, there are the seismic events that change your world- death of a loved one, illness, major events that redefine your stage of ageing. But mostly ageing is seen in the sneaky, surreptitious moments of awareness that the years are indeed progressing and life and you are in a process of continual change.
Does this resonate with you?
I’ve bumped into a few of these moments recently and thought I’d share them with you………….
The “Tucking in the sheets” Moment
My arthritic hands are really mean. Most days they pretend to be normal hands..supple and agile. This morning I gave up on lifting the mattress to tuck in the sheets. Home Beautiful and House and Garden show me that the neatly tucked bed secures my place as a trendsetting decorator. My hands tell another story. It’s a manoeuver best left for the young. My sheets will now remain untucked. I am ageing.
The “When did we start talking about The Pant!” Moment
I know that language is dynamic and ever changing but I’m having a confused grumpy old woman moment…my question causing some existential angst is….when did we start talking about The Pant and not Pants!??????? I used to go to the store to buy PANTS and a jumper had SLEEVES, but now I’m told by fashion writers to “wear a statement sleeve.” What? Only one of them to match the one-legged PANT? Clearly this moment tells me I am ageing fast!
The “Buying a battery operated lawn mower” Moment
My days of petrol driven heavy metal mowers is gone. My new garden has very little grass and is relatively flat, so I had mower envy when my neighbour virtually danced across his lawn with a shiny new battery driven mower. Think Porsche or Range Rover in the car equivalent. Nice. I want one. I set a budget of $400 and went to my local Bunnings. There were few on display but lots in boxes. The box I chose was a $200 battery operated mower. Great, a mower and money saved. At home a friend came to help assemble the item which resembled a cheap sewing machine not a grass munching beast. Every mower part was flimsy plastic including the “steely” sharp blades. There was a part missing. I jammed the battery into the mower and couldn’t get it out and in frustration I chucked the lot into the boot of my car and Bunnings happily gave me a refund.
Next stop a proper mower shop with a price tag to match. For under $800 I exited the shop with my mower concierge wheeling my sparkling new German machine and gently placing it in the boot of my car. …..and I had the bigger battery … for more umph! I can now be seen gliding across my nature strip gently coaxing the said mower to snip away at any offending grass. I stop to smile at my neighbour and we nod knowingly..we have reached an age where only German precision in grass cutting replaces the prestige of a designer clothes or car!
The “My son’s a man” Moment
Have you had those moments when suddenly, very clearly you look at your children and they have morphed into serious grown ups overnight!
Our family attended a wedding recently, of one of my son’s old friends. My son, dressed in a suit instead of lock down track-suit was giving a speech to the happy couple, I sat and watched and listened. There it was. That moment. My son is a man. It wasn’t the gravitas a suit brings. Nor his reference to ” My beautiful wife Anna and I have been married 5 years…” It was something more profound even than that. It was a letting go. A mother letting go. He’s Ok He’s doing alright. He has his own family. He’s a man now. It was also a moment of my own ageing. I am the older generation now.
It was a moment of reconciliation with ageing. A gentle bow to the process of ageing that inevitably I have no control over.
These moments of ageing can bring laughter, frustration, delight, peace and above all acceptance. My third age is here and the world is still Ok.
words by Nora Vitins. Feature image a painting of the artist Margaret Olley by Ben Quilty