2 reminders about ageing

“Age is just an abstraction not a straight-jacket.”

This poignant quote from James Cromwell in the movie ‘Still Mine’ is a striking reminder of how our attitude can limit or expand our view of being older. We probably notice this most when we meet, read, or hear about an older person doing remarkable things, or living differently to how we envisage an older person ‘should be’ living.

Apart from this movie being beautiful and inspiring it has an underlying tone of the power of grit, determination and a degree of old-fashioned stubbornness. It also provides us with two reminders about becoming older:

1. Attitude matters. A lot. Think old and we become old. Think we can and there’s a good chance that we can. Or at least we can do a version of what we want.

2. Assuming that older people don’t know what they’re doing because of their age could be associated more with our fears and doubts than their ability. At the risk of stating the obvious, genuinely listening to and respecting the needs and wants of our parents, grandparents or those for whom we care is essential. It could be us one day. Would we want our wishes to be ignored?

Of course, there may be a time when more care is required. The question is though: Is a retirement village or aged care facility the best or only answer? Sometimes it might be, and perhaps sometimes there’s other options.

And a reminder …

Traditional craftsmanship is a timeless skill that can continue to create incredible beauty regardless of the latest technological innovations.

I loved this movie. And whilst I realise it’s a few years old, it’s worth a mention and possibly another viewing, looking through a lens that says: ‘What am I going to do with the 20 or 30 years of my life that potentially exist after I retire? What are my dreams?’

If you haven’t seen the movie, I suggest you have a box of tissues nearby.

Finally, I’d be interested in hearing what you thought of the movie and what ideas it prompted for your own life as you become older.  I look forward to hearing from you.




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4 replies
  1. Tracey
    Tracey says:

    I think this is a good lesson for the ‘not yet elderly’. I have the good fortune to spend considerable time in a community in a retirement village made up a a mix of attitudes (that probably wax and wane just like mine does) and personalities – but without a doubt what I see is the ‘elderly’ have to tolerate condescension from the younger people just so they can get some crumbs of engagement. If I was spoken to by a 30 year old the way many 75yo are spoken to, I’d be tempted to respond with violence!

    Thanks Catherine a very thoughtful article

  2. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    Your thought provoking articles make interesting reading. Although we mix in a circle of very vibrant 60+ people, we do often encounter people who are “old” because they are expected to act that way. I like to think I set an example to my children’s friends, that this is the best time of our lives. Many have commented that when they grow up they want to live a life like mine. Thanks for making me appreciate that raging is a privilege denied to many.

    • Catherine Rickwood
      Catherine Rickwood says:

      Thanks Sandra. I’m sure you’re an inspiration to many, including me! I look forward to when raging is not just a privilege as we become older but something that we all do, because … that’s what we do into our 60’s and beyond. Ageing as an abstraction not a straight-jacket. No stereotypes attached.


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