Anushka's blog: 10 Things That Get Better As We Age
I felt like writing a positive blog in the wake of soon turning 45 and the perimenopause, so here is my list of things that get better as we age. Any others to add, please let me know!
1. Experience/Perspective: what’s great about this is it requires no effort. You realise this helps you advise others and make better decisions yourself just by the having a sense of déjà-vu when an issue occurs. You are more adept at working out whether something is going to matter in 5 years’ time when you have a reference point of trials and obstacles you have overcome.
2. Cynicism: a healthy dose of cynicism is no bad thing. In this age of fake news and being advertised to within an inch of our lives, a critical and questioning mind is an asset.
3. Confidence and gravitas: as you get older, you suddenly find that people look to you as the authority. When your bosses are, more often than not, younger than you, it is hard to feel intimidated by them
4. Bye bye people pleasing: just being tired and the realisation that time is precious means you probably dispense with doing things you don’t want to, spending time with others out of duty and overly worrying to the point you are afraid to speak your mind.
5. Taking care of oneself: the pandemic forced me to slow down and focus on what is important when life was stripped of commuting and rushing around taking kids to activities and parties. It happened again with the perimenopause. The sheer tiredness I experienced suddenly meant I had to pay more attention to the sleep I was getting, drinking water, eating well, looking at my caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake and the type of exercise I do. Any health concern or ageing generally forces you to take better care of yourself.
Whereas I once would have had a range of spirits and cocktail recipes to experiment with at home, I now get excited concocting salads, looking at the base notes of grains and leaves, top notes of herbs and spices and substance of proteins, seeds, a rainbow of vegetables and homemade dressing to get all my nutrients, prebiotics and macros in one meal! I am now religious about a protein shake breakfast with 5 different fruits and berries added and seeds and grains composed with the precision of a master parfumier! I realise this means some people think I am no fun now, well… read point 4!
Holidays now require a baseline of comfort and luxury for them to be enjoyable so you actually feel refreshed so you no longer feel guilty spending a bit more on yourself to enable this.
6. Gratitude: I think appreciation of nature, family and the simple pleasures in life are so much greater once you slow down a little but have also experienced more hardships which throw these into relief.
7. Writing: Jeffery Archer once said that ‘you shouldn’t write anything until you are at least 45!’ Well I have taken this tongue in cheek comment to heart and like the concept of reaching an age when your writing will improve!
8. Running long distance: it’s fantastic that there are some sports where age doesn’t seem to make much difference. Running marathons is one of them. Even if this prospect leaves you cold, there are plenty of sports that you can compete in to a high level because you are good for your age. My Dad fulfilled his dream to play county level cricket by playing for the Essex over 60s team and I enjoy running and seeing how I fare against other women in my age bracket for example.
9. Kids: whether your own or babysitting others, you are kept young by having to climb climbing frames, go down water slides and crawl through soft play (a personal favourite of mine) but also by learning from their fresh, ‘live in the moment’ perspectives. By being a mentor to them in some way, you can transform their lives and gain so much more yourself in the knowledge that you have done so and made a real difference.
10. Charades: brain fog is not limited to menopausal women. I’ve noticed men of my age also struggle to remember names of people and so on. As a result, I find I have a daily game of ‘menopause charades’ trying to help people guess the person or matter I’m trying to discuss. At the very least, my charades skills are improving if my memory isn’t!
Anushka works full time for a professional services firm, is married with two kids aged 10 and 12.