“To tell you the truth, I was considerably upset and worried. I am not going to pretend that at that moment I foresaw the events of the next few weeks. I emphatically did not do so. But my instinct told me that there were stirring times ahead.”
The Murder of Roger Achroyd by Agatha Christie
On Easter Sunday Hubby and I had lunch (Easter Lamb – delish!) at a friend’s house. I was sat next to our friend Floz (not her real name). Floz is a part time conspiracy theorist, a full time intellectual and in the evenings works as a companion to 3 old ladies.
“Do you know the key to happiness in old age?” she asked me as I prepared my roast potatoes with butter, salt and a good dose of gravy.
I leaned in for the holy grail of advice.
“One thing I’ve learnt from my old ladies is this: if you can shed pesky habits like worrying, sleeping badly, fear and anxiety while you’re younger, you will be a happy, focussed, peaceful and easy-to-be-around old person.”
I had my mouth full of roast potato and I couldn’t reply so she took this as a sign to continue.
“Oh, and you’ve got to bury the hatchet – forget about what’s been done to you or what you should have, could have, deserved to have … let it rest! It’s impossible to undo those bad habits in your 80’s – it has to be done now!”
“That’s what I’m determined to do. I’ve seen the emotional baggage some of these old lady’s carry and I’m not having any of it!”
Ah, my wise friend …
I’ve been thinking about her old lady advice ever since.
As you know, I sometimes suffer from extreme seriousness. It’s not a recognised syndrome, but the suffering is real and I’m working on a cure.
How am I doing this?
I’m making a concerted effort to change the pattern of wrinkles on my face.
Since I don’t believe in botox – don’t get me started on that – I have to be content with my wrinkles. However, I draw the line at frown lines. I’m going for smile lines instead! Hopefully I’m still young enough by Floz’s calculations.
So I’ve spent the last couple of weeks smiling ludicrously at passers-by and to myself. Hubby has been the recipient of a few. There’ve been some lapses into seriousness – I’m afraid I’m a work in progress.
On Sunday, working in the allotment, I had a breakthrough.
While I weeding out some particularly evil bindweed I thought of my smile therapy, which I’ve tried before. It occurred to me that I my smile therapy could be a scientific breakthrough! My mind quickly flashed to awards and acceptance speeches. I’m a genius, I thought. That did make me smile.
Sadly Google did not agree. I’m not the first to come up with this. Smile therapy is in fact a real thing and real scientists, not just 5 foot 1 inch blonde people with wrinkles, are conducting research on it.
For the sake of science, however, I will continue my research and report back in due course.
The thought of a good cup of tea (which I’m about to fix myself now) also puts a smile on my face.
By the Grace of God, I hope to be a happy old lady one day.
That’s if I ever grow up 😉
P.s. A dear friend turns 50 next month. I’m still trying to figure out how she, me, Hubby and others we know got to middle age without our realising. It must be some kind of conspiracy. She is booking herself into a stay at a game reserve. I thoroughly endorse that – a dose of the bush is the cure to all ills.
P.p.s. Hubby tries to un-serious-ise me. His tactics have mixed results. He’s trying to save me from death-by-seriousness. He tries by singing to me or dancing in the kitchen, by pulling funny faces in the mirror and specialising in silly accents. But that’s another story.
P.p.p.s. Confession: after a day in the allotment I rewarded myself with a takeaway fish and chips. Hubby is in Guinea so carbs are back on the table.
P.p.p.p.s. This week BBC Radio 4 news told me that there’s a new kind of anxiety – climate change anxiety. Oh boy!
P.p.p.p.p.s. Sometimes when I feel anxious or cannot sleep I say the Jesus Prayer. It has a calming effect.