A view from age 71: Gay

Staying happy in your seventies

Be proactive in caring for mind, body and soul. For me this begins with daily yoga and meditation practice. Be ever open to new experiences and ideas. Keep the brain working in whatever way is best for you. (I learn the words to happy/positive songs and sing them out loud to myself during the first few challenging hours of the day.) Keep a relationship with nature, even if it is only a plant in a pot.  Cultivate gratitude for all the blessings in your life.

How has turning 70 been?

Turning 70 was fine. I couldn’t believe it in a way – I kept having to redo the maths to convince myself this huge number related to me. I really like being an ‘elder’! The tricky one for me was turning 50 – neither one thing or the other.

What has helped?

Being the oldest in this cohousing community. Giving myself permission to grow old disgracefully when I choose, and gracefully when I want. Giving myself a 70th birthday present of a tattoo, and having red and purple highlights in my hair. Being made to feel very special on the day by my co-housing neighbours with bubbly and presents and then sharing a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party with another friend celebrating 50 years.

Any advice to those approaching 70

Spend as much time as possible with people younger than yourself. Honour what you can do rather than worrying about what you can’t. Laugh as much as possible, particularly at yourself. Have a party and celebrate. Learn something creative and non-physical. I never picked up a paintbrush till I was around 60 and it is now the greatest joy in my life.