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Age by Kate Simpson

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Thank you to Open Age member Kate Simpson for sharing her wonderful, lively piece of writing about ageing…

How do you count age? Is it by years, memories or months. I personally measure it by moments.

These can be happy, sad, angry, vengeful, laughable or just plain mad. If I were to choose I would measure my life in mad moments.

Mad conjures up so many things that have happened in my life. From being in an asylum to laughing myself almost to death. It also encompasses my youth when craziness was almost a necessity, clubbing wearing unsuitable clothes, listening to unsuitable music and reading unsuitable literature ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ for example.

Moments cannot be measured by time. We have brief moments, long moments, and wishful moments.

As I grow older my wishful moments become a bucket list of what I can and want to do in the here and now. I fully intend to grow old disgracefully. In the meantime of course I feel I’m still 21

To hell with my aches and pains. My wheelchair and the host of medical equipment in my home. I’ve had moments when my electric hoist has been fun to swing on (the carers horror adding to my glee!)

My wheelchair used as a racer (with the help of my friends). I’ve been to Ibiza, USA and fully intend to travel more.

I shall listen to unsuitable music, wear unsuitable clothes, and read what I want to. I can act like a child, a teenager or adult. I don’t care and will be deaf to the frowns and murmurings of others.

My own deafness is incredibly useful. Without my hearing aids I sleep peacefully at night. If I get bored of conversation out they come.

I have already crossed two things off my Bucket List. Swimming with Dolphins and meeting Mickey Mouse. I also met Pooh Bear and Tigger and thoroughly enjoyed it with childish glee. Some friends could not understand this second item on my list.

No 3? I have several ideas but at my age I have plenty of time. Don’t I?

Age is therefore to each and own. Never judge a book by its cover. Underneath we may be surprised. The child may have the wisdom of an adult. The teenager may be ‘right not wrong’ and behind the wrinkles a lifetime of laughter. I find it sad when people resort to the surgeons knife to restore or maintain their beauty. They live behind a literal mask imprisoned a slave to vanity.

I have had the privilege of being at the bedside of many in their dying moments. I have watched as their pain becomes peace. And how then their face loses its lines and natural beauty is restored.

They say ‘Age is a Many Splendid Thing’ and in my measured moments I smile and agree.

© Kate Simpson

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Befrienders by Francis (Tut) Florent

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Today I had the great pleasure of meeting a true gentleman called Francis (Tut) Florent, who is 90 years old, and lives in the City of Westminster. I discovered that he has a treasure-trove of stories and prose that he has written over the years, including highly imaginative adventure stories which he wrote for his grandchildren, and some beautifully written poems. He told me that most of his inspiration came from his beloved late wife Anne who also used to write poetry.

Francis will be sharing some of his work on WordWise and welcomes any feedback. Thank you Francis for showing us your work with Open Age and WordWise and of course the wider world! I’m certain that your writings will delight many younger (and older!) readers – plus those age groups in between…

Here is a poem that Francis wrote very recently about ‘Befrienders’

Befriender Group it humbles me to know,

Of people who wish to give their time and love

To the lonely and less fortunate in our society

So worth while to see a smile when your befriender

comes to tea

To know the gossip may be also fun for your friend

Lots of love to befrienders everywhere

© Francis (Tut) Florent

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