Monday, February 20, 2023

Growing old is...lucky! by Sheila Claydon

I know this book cover doesn't seem to match the title of my blog, but bear with me!

A couple of weeks ago my cousin was 80, so I called him to wish him a happy special birthday. Our whole life we have teased one another so I knew our conversation wouldn't be emotional nor full of the cliches often used on such occasions. What I wasn't expecting when I laughingly asked him how he had got to be so old, however, was his answer.

"It's because I'm lucky." he said.


Then, on 9 Feb, I read fellow author Barbara Baker's BWL blogpost 'He's determined to Ski again' about her 90 year old father, and I clicked on the link to her YouTube video of him doing just that Dad Skiing Again - 90 years young - YouTube . He was amazing. So graceful and determined.

Double wow!

That video together with my cousin's words, were so uplifting. And my cousin is right. To achieve a very old age relatively healthy in both mind and body is not just lucky, it's a privilege. A privilege not granted to everyone. Like many people, I have lost friends in their forties and fifties. I also know two children who lost their mothers while they were still in reception class and another girl who died from a brain tumour when she was barely in her teens. The unlucky ones.

So old age needs to be celebrated. Medication, even operations, might be needed to keep some aches and pains at bay but they need to be celebrated too because, even as recently as the mid twentieth century, very little of it was available.  We are the lucky ones, which is something we should never forget, which brings me on to my book Saving Katy Gray the final book of my When Paths Meet trilogy.

It is a romance but behind the romance is the story of a bright and intelligent woman gradually succumbing to dementia and how, with Katy Gray's help, she found herself again. Not completely but enough. Enough to live a fulfilling life. Enough to use the skills she never forgot even on her worse days. The hero, the heroine, the romance are still there but I hope that readers will take from it the wider lessons. The ones that make growing older just part of life's story. 

I have two favourite sayings about ageing. The first is a slick throwaway, attributed to the film star Bette Davis.  And there is a lot of truth in it for even the healthiest of us as we grow older.

Old age ain't no place for sissies 

The second, by Albert Einstein, is the one I want to live by though.

Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious 
children before the great mystery into which we were born.

If I can do that right to the end, then I will indeed be lucky, and privileged. I hope you will too.

Other books in my When Paths Meet series deal with autism, childhood trauma, adoption, desperation and death. Not subjects that are usually associated with romance you say! Don't be fooled, these books are contemporary romance with a capital R. It is romance that is embedded in real life, however, because very few of us tread a smooth path where love is concerned. If you decide to read them, I hope you enjoy them.


  1. Great post and one that hit me since I'm 86 and still looking at the world with wonder and sometimes with anger for others. Keep writing

  2. Something to consider as we age. I would also add that happiness is a state of mind we create each day. Wishing everyone of our readers a long, healthy, happy life. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great read and thanks for sharing Dad's skiing link. I like your cousin's statement. "Because I'm lucky."


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