Ian Brown’s book “Sixty” is a candid, humorous sometimes brutal account of his first year as a 60-year old man. Brown wonders why we look upon ageing as a failure? Think about it, how many times do see a picture of someone over 50 and say, “They look great!” Or worse, “They aren’t ageing well” We live in abject fear of growing old or at least looking our age. The judgment attached is punitive. We have somehow let society down by the mere act of growing up! And for that matter, do we ever really grow up?

I think the survivors are those that let their inner 20-year old continue to have a seat at the grown up table. You can spot them, the people who maintain a curiosity and aren’t defined by the perceptions of what an older person looks like. The 68-year old who can still rock a Blundstone or stay up past 10pm. There are harsh realities about ageing, the body doesn’t play fair. But if the mind stays keen and open, the possibilities are endless.

Last week I interviewed renowned dance and visual artist Francoise Sullivan who at the age of  95 – paints daily in her studio. She never got the memo on ageing and slowing down. I know this isn’t the reality of the average 95 year old human but it sure was enlightening. Maybe if we stop thinking of life as a series of  10-year instalments that lead to a dead end (literally) and just let it roll through without presumption, we could offer each other a view from here that isn’t attached to fear and loathing. Here is a clip of Ian Brown reading an excerpt from his sage book, “Sixty” and a short clip of Brown offering an alternative to the perceptions on ageing.

 

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