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There’s no denying that youth has its advantages. When we were young we had plenty of time ahead of us to decide what we wanted to do with our lives. We had energy and promise and freshness. The problem was (if you were anything like me) that we also had naivety. I spent my youth gearing myself up for the future my mother taught me to expect; to find a ‘suitable’ man who would look after me, marry him and have children. That was as far as my view of the world stretched.
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I did end up marrying a lovely man and had three lovely children, but what I didn't factor into my plans was what I would do if my life went pear-shaped – and it did. My husband passed away and it wasn't until then that I began to really grow up. Suddenly I found myself having to shoulder a great amount of responsibility and to make crucial decisions on my own – things I should have learned before then.
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Growing older gives us more of a 360˚ view of life. Seeing what has gone before prepares you more for what lies ahead. We learn that plans can change and paths can become very rocky. We learn that love doesn't mean relying on another person to make you whole, and we also learn that things that we thought mattered when we were young are not necessarily what matter now.
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I like being older because I've learned so much, experienced so much and yet I can still look at young people and feel their enthusiasm for all that’s to come. I don’t envy them but I wish I could tell them it’s ok not to know what you want yet. It’s good to experience different activities, careers and lifestyles. I didn't find my true calling until I was in my fifties but along the way I got to do so many other fantastic things.
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I also like that the older I get, the less the ageing process bothers me. I care less about grey hairs and wrinkles. I look in the mirror and see a woman who enjoys life. Appearance matters less. Health matters more, family matters more and doing what makes me happy matters most.