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Katy Louise writes about health, wealth, happiness and relationships, and the spiritual insights she gains along her path. She is currently editor of Top Sante magazine (www.topsante.co.uk). Prior to that she was editor of Bodyfit magazine (now Your Fitness www.yourfitnesstoday.com) and the launch editor of Soul&Spirit magazine (www.soulandspiritmagazine.com). Katy is also a certified Fitsteps and STOTT Pilates instructor. She is the go-to girl for all matters relating to health, wellbeing and spirituality.

Friday 23 November 2012

Why older is better (mostly)

Just been to see Skyfall, the latest Bond film (if that's not stating the obvious - it's been impossible to ignore after all). I understand why it's being lauded so much. For a start, hats off to Javier Bardem for his eerily creepy bad guy - the blonde hair! - and for the writers staging it primarily in London and Scotland - a ploy to attract even more tourists? Or to add one more GB triumph to what has already become a truly British year all round, what with the incredible Olympics (did I mention I was in the closing ceremony? sorry, can't help bringing it up at every opportunity).

Maturing - like a fine wine
But the part of the film that most caught my attention was the theme of growing older, especially at the start, with plenty of mentions about Bond's age - DC certainly looked rather more 'weather worn' to put it politely, than in previous films. But the underlying message was that he may be older, but yet he was wiser and most certainly not out of the game. There were jibes about him being past it, only emphasised by the young new 'Q' played by a techie geek decades his junior. And though this was perhaps to be expected, what I liked were the reminders from his young female accomplice about 'old dog, new tricks' and 'old ways being the best', which emphasised that age does not stop you being the best in the world and good at your job.

Culture that values youth
I bring this up because it always saddens me when I read about people ousted from their jobs because of their age. I know this is hardly news, and has been going on since its inception, but the BBC has a reputation for firing it's older, and very accomplished, presenters. To use a dancing reference - of course, as I love it - Strictly came under fire for getting rid of Arlene as a judge. Whether she chose to go or was coerced, I guess we will never know. But ageism is rife and we all know it. Whether it's overt or not, it pervades our Western society. I get sick of the Daily Mail website for the way it constantly panders to this hegemonic belief that women are 'past it' by a certain age and ought not make themselves visible (and if they do, God forbid they wear something 'inappropriate for their age' or do something 'improper'). I avoid reading the site at all costs but sometimes can't help it when a colleague sends me a relevant fitness or spiritual news story, which I check and then inevitably get sucked into reading all the other 'non-stories' for an hour or so, often only to end up depressed. Madonna, my hero and a very spiritual lady (if anyone bothered to actually listen to what she actually says), is always lambasted on that site for behaving in a manner 'not fit for a women in her fifties' according to the site.

Age has hidden gifts
My favourite spiritaul doctor Christiane Northrup, author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Piatkus), says in one of her lecture that as women we only really get into our stride in our sixties. That's when we really know ourselves, have decided not to put up with s**t from people anymore, and can create amazing things. Check out her work because it's truly inspiring (the talk I refer to is on the Hay House audio Inside-out Wellness with her and Dr Wayne Dyer. It's a few years old now but still good). She, or it could be Wayne, I forget, also mentions that the only reason the retirement age was brought in at 65 was because some European army general realised most of his most powerful enemies were above this age; so, by introducing the meme - a powerful, unconscious belief - that by the age of 65 you are past it, this general could stay in power. I wouldn't be surprised if this were true.

Mind = good; body, not so much 
The only thing I dislike about ageing is the fact my hair is turning grey and I'm getting lines around my eyes in such a quantity that it sometimes causes me distress. But that's just me being vain. The great thing about getting older is being able to learn from your mistakes and feeling more confident about who you are. Though I'd love to have my 20-year-old body back, I'd probably not choose to go back to that age because it would mean having to re-live the horror of my mid 20s (horror being a slight exaggeration) due to just not feeling confident about anything: my direction in life, my career, or lack thereof, my relationships - OK that last one is still a mystery a lot of the time. But still, age does bring wisdom; it brings grace, strength and depth. It should be revered, not hidden away out of sight to make way for the spring chickens all of the time.

Dancing to her own drum
I hope she won't mind me saying so, but Karen Ruimy (and I don't know her exact age) started her dance career later in life. Despite having danced as a young child, she ended up working in banking and earning mega bucks, but packed it all in to follow her calling and pursue her dream of being a poet, singer, writer and dancer on stage. Check out her website www.karenruimy.com; the blog is excellent and a must for anyone into dance, fashion, art, travel, architecture - actually she covers most things! She is just one person who is inspiring to me. Who says you have to be a certain age to do things? It's only a mindset that stops us from following our dreams. Louise Hay, a women who set up a publishing company in her 60s, says in her seminal book You Can Heal Your Life (Hay House - of course!), that a former client of hers wanted to get into commercials, and she was in her 70s. So Louise told her to go for it as there was 'no one else quite like you doing what you do' - and so the woman did get an agent and went on to successfully star in lots of TV ads.

Age not a barrier
So, let's not make age a barrier. I need to take my own advice here, for I'm often wishing I could turn back the clock and have done more dancing in my 20s, and not just consigned it to the hobby category. But I didn't. The past is gone. Nothing is stopping me from pursuing it now, especially as Karen Hardy invited me to her dance studio to have a one-to-one lesson with a pro (I actually had to go and jump up and down in the loos after the interview, as I could not contain my excitement!). All I need to do is get my achy back sorted. Well, as Bond discovers in this latest film, we may grow wiser and still 'have it' but the body does, inevitably, get a bit worn out...

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