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Voices Of Experience
The Meaning of Ageing
Well, I should know a lot about this as I've been doing it since 1949. True, I didn't know much about it for a few years, but by the time I was 10 I knew that the actions that produced food and play things when I was 3 no longer worked, so I guess I learned that ageing meant inconsistency. This put me in good stead over the following decades as I tried to use public transport, understand management, money and social policy. My education was second to none, but I soon learned that some things like washing a handkerchief by hand, mending a fuse, and making a vase from an LP record were totally useless skills, and I found that I needed to learn a new system of measurements, how to light invisible fires that heated pipes in each room, and that I didn't have to turn over the CD to hear all the songs.

Thanks to my mother's generation I was deemed able to manage a house, family and job and still have time to look pretty and seductive by the time my husband fancied... err, sorry can't remember what. Of course, despite knowing best about bringing up my own children I also knew best about how my daughters should bring up theirs. Fortunately they too had leaned of inconsistencies and I had learned to bite my tongue.

My sister was two years older than me and when she retired. I realised that it must soon be my time, (you see I had remembered how to subtract) so I had quite a little list of things I wanted to do by the time I became a pensioner. Unfortunately, by that time I was involved in a few charities and they were quicker at filling my diary than I was at booking my 'pleasures'. Still I've learned how to say no and as I notice all my contemporaries looking fifteen years older than me so am thankful of the exercise the charities keep providing for me.

I was, however, a little confused when I was talking recently to a six year old about picking peppers before they became wrinkled. "Wrinkly?" he asked innocently. "You mean like your skin?"
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