Do you sing? No, I don’t mean, are you an opera singer, because there are precious few of those. I just mean do you like to sing, for instance, in the shower or in the bath? Or perhaps to yourself as you potter around the house. It is a joyous activity, which can be done at any age.
Do you remember the terrible AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s? Were you directly affected by it? We are all old enough to remember. But for some, it may have passed by as an awful situation that happened to other people, with little impact on their family or friends.
Finally, you have reached the age when you are beginning to think about downsizing. Perhaps you have familiarized yourself with all the practical and even emotional difficulties involved and have decided you are not quite ready to take the plunge.
Is there anything you can do in preparation for the eventual day?
There is something about finding ourselves in our 60s that makes our heads turn to the past, in general, and, more specifically, to our ancestry. I have no idea why this fascination comes so forcefully at this time.
Perhaps as we age, our perception of time changes. The decades before we were born seem less long ago. Our ancestors therefore seem more real and present.
People often have set ideas about what a grandmother should be like. However, grandmothers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – as well as in attitudes to that role. This became very clear to me when I wrote a book based on interviews conducted with 27 very different grandmothers.
I want to tell you about my day today. No, it wasn’t a bad day, the sort of day that we often want to talk about, when everything goes wrong. It was a good day, of the sort we much too often take for granted.
Here are a few tips for celebrating the simple things in life.
Are you one of the many people who are looking after someone who is very ill? Perhaps a spouse, sibling, parent or friend? As you well know, it is a highly tiring and difficult task, however much it is undertaken with love.
You may be overloaded with advice, but I’d like to add a few thoughts about food.
Have you ever spent time with someone in their last days? Was it intimate, peaceful and special – or was it full of intrusive hospital equipment, harried nurses, physical pain and no chance to talk?