Ageing Shamelessly: Part Two!

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!

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Our little old girl, Lou Lou! 

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.

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Guarding my fancy chocs!

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
  • Cuddles
  • 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.

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Let’s be amazing at 100 like Beatrice here!

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!

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Our other two rescue girlies, Hazel and Saffrom! 

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!

Best Wishes,

Bexi

xx

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Free Your Time, Find Your Life!

Hello!

This blog chapter, I’d like to share how important following your own way in life is, the way I freed up my time to be able to do this and how you can do the same if you feel you’re not where you want to be!

We are told that if we’re not busy, we’re not working hard enough. Our days must be packed with meetings, rushed travel, hurried emailing and feeling harassed as our inboxes expand. If we don’t work, or choose an alternative lifestyle that doesn’t fit within the 9-5 culture then we are told we are lazy and incompetent…so it seems that no one can win.

We must realise that the public figures set as inspirational for this lifestyle burn themselves out quickly- they have health problems, family connection issues and little time to enjoy the money they’ve created. Many who do have free time, through whatever reason, are made to feel so bad about themselves that they fill those extra hours with television, and maybe drink and drugs to cover that shame placed upon them by society.

Time here is a gift. It doesn’t need to be spent pursuing things you would rather not. If you would prefer to spend each afternoon reading, that can be so! Travel more, you can have that too! There is always a way around things. For example, if you would rather work part time, then examine your finances and see where you could do without something to free up extra cash that will allow you to work less.

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Before I became self employed, I worked in employment but slowly decreased my hours, over a time frame of a few months. I admit I was extremely lucky in that my employers were so supportive with my asking to lessen my days (Thanks Ann and Kerri of Mad Hatters, Chester!!) Even if right now you’re thinking your boss would never allow it, it’s still achievable!

You can do this and live the life you want! It’s only an impossible dream if you believe it to be. If you tell yourself it’s doable then you’ll find it easy. You may face obstacles. The shame of not fitting a particular culture I spoke of earlier? I’ve had that put on me, asked when I’ll get a “real job”. I choose not to accept those thoughts though as they come from years of conditioning that there’s only one way to live.

Our world is changing! We can truly live however we wish, if we set our minds to it. I’m not saying it will be without challenges, but these are to be overcome and make us stronger. There have been times when I’ve questioned my way, months when work has been slow but I always find ways to adapt so I don’t compromise how I want to live. I’ve picked up other small freelance jobs when money has been tight, I travel less when I want to see my family more. You can find your best way of living and to get started,  here are some tips I’ve learned…

  1. If you’re in employment speak with your boss and explain that you’d like to drop hours. You can cite health reasons or family if they ask and you don’t want to tell them it’s to work less or work on a side project. If they say no, perhaps take it as a sign it’s time to leave and start to look for another avenue with more flexible working hours.
  2. To supplement income in a more time efficient way if you do leave or drop hours, start a side enterprise such as an Ebay account or utilising a skill you may have such as the ability to teach piano or even good cleaning skills.
  3. Re-evaluate how much income you need to be happy and fulfilled. Often when in a salaried job, we’ll spend until our wage is gone as there is always the next month to count on. This leads us to believe we need the amount we are earning at the time and so keeps a cycle going that may not be needed. Examine what you spend on, are there areas you could cut back? This is old advice but I still see people spending an hours wage on their lunch so if that’s you, could you make yours at home instead?
  4.  To start using the time you already do have effectively, begin to focus on yourself instead of being so hurried throughout the day that you can’t switch that side off when you’re away from work. Start with ten minutes a day just sitting still. No television on, no phone near you to check emails, just you and your thoughts. At first your mind may stay scrambled and frantic, struggling to switch from active to quiet, but with practice you’ll be able to ease your thoughts.
  5. Find a pattern that works for you. We are all so different, which is why I disagree so strongly with a standard working schedule. A steady 9-5 suits some people wonderfully, whilst running someone else into the ground who would be more suited to creative work.

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We all want to follow our own goals in life and we all deserve the chance to do so. Give yourself the best chance by supporting your own dreams, not someone else’s- which you are doing if you over work yourself. Do not make yourself ill working for another’s goal. Don’t allow your path to be dictated, it is yours to tread not theirs so they can not possibly know the right way for you, only you can feel that. Trust those feelings, they will take you on beautiful adventures!

 

Best Wishes,

Bexi