Thank you for the lovely messages after I posted Ageing Shamelessly. It’s great to know so many of you feel similarly, that we are not resigned to growing older the way society tells us we must!
I wanted to share a lesson I’ve learnt this week and it’s a bit of an abstract one so bear with me…
We recently adopted a cat, called Shaylou but we call her Lou Lou. She’s a very special girl. We adopted her when was abandoned by her owners to live outside after they moved. The reason little Lou is extra special is because she is 20 years old! In cat years this makes her 96 which is amazing!
Since she’s been living with us, I’ve learnt so many things about ageing which I just instinctively know can translate to humans. We’ve been conditioned to accept so many things in our later years that just do not need to happen.
So I’ll details the things our little 96 year old girl does on a daily basis…
- Eats heartily
- Exercises: stretches, runs around (cardio) and bone strengthening jumps!
- Plays with the joy of a kitten
- Naps when she needs to
- Speaks up when she has something to say! (Food please!)
- Socialises with her friends
- Keep herself groomed and neat
- Has maintained a healthy constant weight
I have no doubt that this list could apply to 96 year old humans if we believed it more possible. The key difference is that no one has ever told Lou Lou to “act her age” or “she’s just too old to be doing that”. She is doing everything that feels natural to her and on the timescale that she chooses. Humans on the other hand (or paw?!), are so tied up with our belief systems that we follow what we think we should be. Old age to us, is not seen as increased energy and vitality but a loss, and often a huge loss at that.
Having no societal rules on ageing thrown at her, means that Lou has continued the natural behaviours that served her well as a young cat- stretching regularly, resting when tired and lots of activity in between. We can learn so much from this! Keep the joyful behaviour from childhood. Continue to play, laugh, sing, dance, eat well and rest when needed. Listen to your own fluctuations of energy flow, don’t try and fit in a box of an existence thought out by someone else!
I’m not saying she still has the full spark of a kitten. We have two other cats aged 7 and 6 and they are faster and a little brighter than Lou, but only marginally when you consider in human years they are only in their 40s!
Again, I will say that we need to rethink our ideas about ageing. Looking to nature is a great way of seeing how we CAN age well, keep the activities we love and have a beautiful old age experience!