83-year-old Joyce: 7 reasons why old age is actually awesome
6 February 2019
Joyce Williams is a breezy blogger with a contagious zest for life. At 83 years of age, she’s decided to take it upon herself to challenge “the horrible, negative image of old age that’s around now”.
The graph of human happiness rises to its peak around 73.
“It’s just not helping anyone”, she explained on Mornings With Kaye Adams. “It's distressing and it's demeaning.”
Joyce believes that, as a result of this unbalanced view of older age, people are developing an unnecessary fear of it.
“The graph of human happiness starts quite high when you’re young, drops quite low when you’re in your middle years, but it rises to its peak around 73. That needs to be said.”
Joyce acknowledged that life can be tough when you’re younger.
I never thought at 45, when I was suicidal, that I’d ever get to this age.
“I’ve had a very interesting life,” she said. “I never thought at 45 – when I was really suicidal, when I’d lost my husband to cancer – that I’d ever get to this age. I didn’t want to get to this age.
“My worst periods were in my middle years, I think. I was a single parent at one time and I had lost my husband. It really was difficult.
“What we need is to have a far more positive view of old age instilled in people’s minds before they get to it. I’ve got a lovely husband; a book group; I play bridge and I travel; there aren’t many countries I haven’t been to.”
‘Sell’ old age to us, Joyce!
1. You’re proud of yourself: you did it!
“Something happens when you get over 70. You see life differently. You begin to look at it backwards and think ‘Gosh, I did it. I got through all these troubles!’ And you suddenly become proud of it.”
2. It doesn’t matter what you look like
“You’ve got your laughter wrinkles, if that’s what you managed to get. You don’t care much about grey hair: it’s nice to look nice, but that’s not important.”
3. The sex improves
“It’s a pleasant part of old age. It gets better with old age — well, you’ve got time haven’t you?. You’ve got a caring and cherishing partner. A lot of people are going on dating agencies now.”
4. You’ve got your freedom
“You’ve got freedom to be you — freedom from ambitions, in a way. You can have ambitions, like to be best in the bowling club, but it doesn’t have to be like that.”
5. Life gets so busy, so active
“So many old people are volunteering everywhere. You couldn’t run things like the National Trust and huge numbers of charities. So many people are out there working for nothing because they love society and want to do it.”
6. We’ve now got an extra 10 years of good, interesting life
“In my childhood, if I was old then, I would have been in a wheelchair with arthritis. I would have been blind and I would have been deaf. I’m fine now, so we have gained enormously in my lifetime. We’ve gained ten bonus years of fit, active, healthy living for most people.”
7. We’re tough!
“Yes, people get ill — but they get over that. We’re tough, you know. Once you get to 70 and 80, you’re tough: you made it, you can cope with problems. So you have a new hip: good, go play golf again. A new knee? Go skiing again.”