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VirginiaGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 16-Apr-15 12:14:39

Growing old gracefully – and quietly

Author of 'The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q', Sharon Maas shares her joy in growing old and not caring about what people think.

Sharon Maas

Growing old gracefully - and quietly

Posted on: Thu 16-Apr-15 12:14:39


Lead photo

Sharon Maas

I love being sixty-something, and wouldn’t turn back the clock for all the world. For one thing, as I told an online friend recently, for the first time ever I just don’t care what others think of me. “Well,” she replied “what are all these outrageous and inappropriate things you do?” I laughed. “Who said anything about outrageous and inappropriate?” I asked. “That’s what young people do to feel brave and confident. What I meant was that I find joy in the quieter things in life, and I don’t care if others call me boring”

Outrageous and inappropriate indeed! Bring on the quiet stuff. I recently read an article in which some minor ageing celebrity gushed on about staying young, listing all the youthful, exciting things she had done as well as counting off the antics of other celebrities who have “kept their youth”. I shuddered. Over my dead body. I have no interest in wild partying, and even less in sex with young stags, and I won’t be pressured into holding on to such activities. And I don’t care if, by living a quieter life, I’m deemed “invisible” by society.

I have never felt so fulfilled, with a contentment that grows almost from day to day

Back when I was young, I did care. I’m the introverted type. Much of my joy in life comes from invisible, internal sources, and I cared desperately that I wasn’t as outgoing as others. My self-esteem suffered as I felt the pressure to earn appreciation. I had to be pretty, sexy, fun-loving, outrageous, the life and soul of the party. I also had to be successful, a high energy achiever, and of course, talkative. But I wasn’t.

The result? Lack of confidence for most of my youth. OK, coming of age in the sixties was a lot of fun; I travelled, I smoked weed, I had adventures, I broke all the rules. But I was never truly happy.

Growing older for me means letting go of those fake youthful values. I’m moving into an exciting era of true independence, one that comes from within. I know my worth, and no longer blindly accept the standards youth dictates for “success”. I’ve found my own principles and am now strong enough to live by those. I have the treasure of experience to guide me; I’ve learnt from life, and especially from my mistakes. I’ve fumbled my way to the wisdom that the source of self-confidence is, quite literally, within.

Growing old means cultivating those internal sources of joy. For me, this lies in reading, writing, nature, my grandchild (and those to come!), meditation, spirituality. For others this might be walking, swimming, gardening, knitting or painting.

I appreciate life in a way I never did before, and have the inner strength to deal with trials calmly and stoically, like standing by my husband in his horrible illness. Yes, life is full of challenges. But I have never felt so fulfilled, with a contentment that grows almost from day to day. Others might find me invisible, and my life boring; but you know what? I don’t care. The adventure just got real!

By Sharon Maas

Twitter: @sharon_maas

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Apr-15 15:06:37

Self satisfied cobblers Well, good for you Sharon Mass.

Wish I had it that sorted.

etheltbags1 Thu 16-Apr-15 15:08:56

that's fine for you, Sharon, but some people don't have their health and that counts for a lot. If you are unable to do what you love doing then it adds to frustration and misery but good luck to anyone who is fit and well.

Larissa Thu 16-Apr-15 15:14:21

I know her. I met her personally when she lived abroad. She did enough and was not so modest then.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Apr-15 15:15:32

"Growing old means cultivating those internal sources of joy."

Not for me it doesn't. Sounds really boring. Give me a little bit a large portion of worldly pleasure. As well as.

pompa Thu 16-Apr-15 15:21:36

Growing old is bad enough -- gracefully would be the pits.

annodomini Thu 16-Apr-15 15:49:27

Haven't managed 'disgracefully' yet, but I'm open to opportunity.

merlotgran Thu 16-Apr-15 15:53:44

Is there anything wrong with a life of quiet contentment?

It doesn't mean you're slumped in front of the TV all day hmm

annodomini Thu 16-Apr-15 16:04:03

Quiet contentment is good but there are times when one needs a bit of excitement, merlot.

sunseeker Thu 16-Apr-15 16:11:20

It surely means different things for different people. A quiet life is fine for some, I like some quiet time myself, but for me as I am lucky enough to be relatively healthy I intend to get out and do all the things that I wasn't able to because I was busy earning a living.

There were so many things my DH and I were planning to do in our retirement, that unfortunately can't happen now so I feel I can go and do all those things for both of us.

annsixty Thu 16-Apr-15 16:28:50

I would love some real excitement in my life. It isn't going to happen but a quiet life is not life enhancing at all, it can suck all pleasure out and believe me I know.

Gagagran Thu 16-Apr-15 16:42:58

But you can only ever speak for yourselves. For some people, a quiet life, including some solitude, is a peaceful harbour after what may have been a busy and even traumatic life to date. Not everybody yearns for excitement or going to new places or doing new activities. There is joy and pleasure in small things if you look for them and they can be as life-enhancing as all the adventuring some people seem to want. It all sounds a bit stressful to me. I like quiet and calm and peacefulness to enjoy the good things I see in my life. smile

PRINTMISS Thu 16-Apr-15 16:57:29

I am like you there Gagagran, being content is great. I have done some very odd things in my life, and look back at them with some regrets, but a lot of smiles, and I know that in the future I am no not going to be able to travel far, achieve great feats, attempt something new and daring, but I do still look forward to each day, and enjoy the garden and the calm of my lifestyle. I don't think it is a question of growing old gracefully, just accepting that that is where I am, and enjoying it.

annsixty Thu 16-Apr-15 17:03:58

I hope you can accept and understand my post was not how I normally feel. No more to say really.

Lona Thu 16-Apr-15 17:07:19

annsixty flowers

pompa Thu 16-Apr-15 17:50:12

I can manage to be disgraceful from the comfort of my chair - as I'm sure many of you think. grin

Agus Thu 16-Apr-15 18:18:09

So you don't care what people think anymore Sharon? I don't get that impression when you won't reveal your true age and you introduce yourself as sixty something!

If you can't accept what age you are, obviously you care what people think.

Ana Thu 16-Apr-15 18:20:27

Google reveals that she was born in 1951 - same year as me! smile

Agus Thu 16-Apr-15 18:22:24

And I am a year older than you Ana grin

petallus Thu 16-Apr-15 18:36:25

I feel as though I know exactly where Sharon Maas is coming from. Her blog made great sense to me.

What a relief not to have to strain to 'stay young ' in old age and wear bloody purple.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Apr-15 18:53:20

I don't understand the last bit. "Others might find me invisible, and my life boring; but you know what? I don’t care. The adventure just got real!"

What adventure? confused

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Apr-15 18:53:45

I may be overthinking this.

pompa Thu 16-Apr-15 18:54:37

Being a gentleman, I would never ask a lady her age, Sharon, how much do you weight ??

Agus Thu 16-Apr-15 19:02:04


Coolgran65 Thu 16-Apr-15 19:17:00

pompa now you're really pushing it !!