I'd like to thank whoever it was who coined that phrase..for it has become a short hand excuse that I am increasingly needing to use! In fact, I used it just 10 minutes ago as YET AGAIN I handed in my frequent flyers card instead of my library card. The library assistant gave me a get out of jail free card by saying they were after all both blue......but I was honest.
I have worked in Aged care rehab hospitals for a very long time now..initially with patients much much older than me and at that time I thought anyone aged between 70 & 80 was clearly at a stage of decrepitude. Now it seems many of my aged patients are either my age or very close to it and I have come to the realisation that in actual fact 70 is really very young!!!
I am interested in the semantics of ageing.....for example if you are say 40 and you succumb for some reason to the forces of gravity...you fall. If however you are 70 and suffer the same problem, you do not "fall"...you "have a fall". Should you be unfortunate enough to be hospitalised for that or indeed any other reason the fact that you've "had a fall" in the past 6 months means you will be deemed a "falls risk". I am on the Falls Risk Minimization committee at work and regularly feel compelled to ask around that table..who in the last 6 months has NOT had a fall/fallen..most have.
I'm also interested in people's reactions to their own blank moments which, lets face it, can be a sign of an overworked/off line person as much as one who is having a "senior's moment". For instance some years ago my younger son found himself putting his dirty socks into the fridge. His reaction was..he laughed, it was after all, just a blank moment when his mind was off somewhere other than the kitchen. But how would I (or someone my age) have handled it? Would I have worried over it, seen it as a indicator of the beginnings of mental decline? Would I start taking steps to ensure my mind stayed alert..done crosswords, Sudoku, brain teasers..or would I too have just laughed, confident that I too was just momentarily "offline"?
So I am grateful for the phrase and while I have cause to use it more regularly that I'd prefer (due I hasten to add to overwork and not the onset of dementia), I also manage to have the occasional "junior moment" to create the balance in life we all need.
Warning - When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
By Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer mats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.