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AofA People: Caroline Rosie Dent – End of Life Doula, Death Cafe Host, Jeweller


1 Minute Read

Caroline Rosie Dent, 59, was one of our guests at the Death Dinner (screened tonight for the first time at Barts Pathology Museum). She is an end of life Doula, a jeweller and a death cafe host. Be warned – if you’re courting Caroline, never bring her cheap chocolate!
WHAT IS YOUR NAME?  
Caroline Rosie Dent
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
59
WHERE DO YOU LIVE? 
London, UK

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am an end of life Doula – I walk alongside and advocate for people at the end of life, so they feel more at ease and more empowered in their dying days. I also run a Death cafe and am active in the Positive Death movement. I have been working as a creative in Textiles and jewellery for most of my life and I still make Memorial Jewellery under the alter ego Rosie Weisencrantz

TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE YOUR AGE?

I find that such a hard question to answer as I honestly feel ageless inside. I am all the ages I have ever been ….I still carry all those younger versions of myself inside me; they all pop out at different times. At the moment I feel about 26 because I am particularly happy right now

WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?

I have the security of owning a home which gives me choices.  I see it as my passport to freedom and adventure in the future. I have a beautiful son, who teaches me constantly how to be a better person.

                                                                                                                                                 WHAT ABOUT SEX?

I see sex as part of a deeper intimacy. I have zero interest in casual sex, in the same way I have no interest in fast food.  I dipped my toes in the tantric waters for a while, and I got a glimpse of what is possible. I’m an all or nothing kind of person. Never bring me cheap chocolate!

AND RELATIONSHIPS?

I was a serial monogamist for most of my life and have had some pretty disastrous relationships, and yet I regret none of them. They all contributed to my growth, no matter how difficult. However,  now I would like something a bit more joyful, with a man who totally *gets* me and shares my irreverent spirit. I am not afraid to be alone, as that is infinitely preferable to being in a dysfunctional relationship. I quite like the idea of living separately within a relationship. I think this keeps a relationship healthy.

Relationships can be a breeding ground for resentment, and living apart can act as a deterrent to that, and help to engender greater respect for each other. As Gibran says *let there be space in your togetherness* I would like to meet a man to travel and explore the world with…that is very appealing…. someone who looks at me through loving and forgiving eyes, and a man who can allow himself to open and be loved fully in return. I would like to experience that once before I die.

HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?

Freedom is a state of mind. Thoughts are our greatest jailers.  Sometimes I feel free, other times I feel imprisoned by my fears. I feel most free when I am alone in nature, and the mental noise is switched off. Nature is my sanctuary.

WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?

My son is my greatest achievement. He is a beautiful being with a boundless heart, and he has taught me many things. I am proud of my creativity and my achievements as a designer. I won an international award at the peak of my career. I am also incredibly proud that I overcame my pathological fear of death phobia, that plagued me as a child and into adulthood, and now through my work with death and dying, am helping others to overcome theirs.

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

Questions and Ideas. My own creative process. I have loved playing with my imagination since I was tiny and have always got a kick out of my own thought processes. I see myself as a catalyst, energy-wise. I would have made a good inventor. I feel I could have done anything I put my mind to..because my creativity is limitless.

WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?

I feel freest and happiest when I am cycling along the river, far away from people,  listening to beautiful music on my ipod. I am also happy when I am having conversations about death and dying and see people opening up about their deepest fears for the first time. I am happy when I am in love.

AND WHERE DOES YOUR CREATIVITY GO?

It goes everywhere! Creativity is a state of mind. It’s an unstoppable force. Art writing talking feeling being. An open and curious mind is the foundation of all creativity.

WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING?

Be yourself, and don’t take yourself too seriously. Be able to laugh at yourself in all your glorious human imperfection. There is literally nobody who does you as well as you, so celebrate your  uniqueness. We are all glorious paradoxes. Enjoy the play. It will be over soon enough.    And dying? “Get curious about death before death gets curious about you” is my mantra. Don’t wait till your body and mind are failing to begin this most important work. Contemplation of Death teaches us how to live.  As the Zen quote says *the cup is already broken* so live each moment fully and kiss the joy as it flies.

ARE YOU STILL DREAMNG?

Always. To dream is to be alive. Never underestimate the power of your imagination. Enjoy this play.

WHAT WAS A RECENT OUTRAGEOUS ACTION OF YOURS?

No huge acts of outrageousness here…just being myself. That is my act of rebellion or outrageousness. To give an example; yesterday I lay on a bench with my head hanging upside down,  and watched the passers by walking from *the ceiling of the earth* – from an upside down viewpoint walking looks like dancing. It amused me to notice that and I try not to bother myself with what others think of me. By being myself I hope I give others permission to be themselves also.

Oh Lordy – what’s all this ‘Midster’ terminology?


1 Minute Read

Recently, there was a panel discussion on ‘Midsters’ and whether they were leading a colourful life. We sent well-being and fashion expert, Rebecca Weef-Smith along to find out what it was all about.

What’s with the Midster?

I took a bit of a dislike to the term Midster, it sounds like a slightly baggy low rise jean that Marks and Spencer would think was a good idea but – as was mentioned more than once by the audience at the launch – M & S do get it so wrong. I also have a feeling of it being too closely aligned to Mister and found myself humming some old show tune – mister can you spare a dime – but I will try not to let that interfere with my objectivity about the report which was commissioned by JD Williams, a company specialising in products for women over 45.

Overall the findings do reflect what we know here at AofA, life is bloody good when you are over 45; midster life for today’s 45-65-year-olds is a ‘distinct and exciting phase of life’.

Angela Spindler, the CEO of N Brown Group which owns JD Williams, was frank about her feelings of enjoying this part of her own life, “Age is just a number by which we are no longer defined.” There was much talk of possibilities, new opportunities and positive ageing attitudes in society at large. Women in the 45+ bracket are more confident in their appearance, have a better sex life, and are enjoying their leisure time more. However the report does also show that more than one in ten women are concerned about losing their sex drive, along with memory loss, independence and health problems.

A General Sense of Ageing

Thank goodness only 13% of those surveyed want to be 18 again but half – yes 50% – want to be thirty again. Are they mad? Has no one told them of the Advantages of Age?

As the panel discussed there is still loads of scare-mongering around; how dreadful this aging is going to be, oh the loneliness, the poverty, the poor health. AofA has a duty of care to put this right! We need to get out there and evangelise guys; 48% of 45+ women fear being a burden on loved ones and 68% fear losing their independence. This is not a reflection of my aging tribe, where is the flamboyance and sheer joy, where are the mavericks…has the word not spread that being a ‘baby-boomer’ is much better than being a ‘millennial’?

Women & Shopping

A whopping 70% of the women surveyed feel ignored by the high street, which brings me back to Marks and Spencer’s. And what can be learnt from this report that will inform the real world. At this point it may be useful to remember that JD Williams are retailers, and whilst the survey could be viewed from an alternative angle, my takeaway was that the launch was geared towards a fashion audience who are attempting to understand this demographic in order to sell them fashion, real clothes in stores and fashion-media, either traditional print or online.

The audience and panel discussed the disconnect between how we see ourselves and what we are being offered on the high street in terms of actual garments – how they fit, what styles are age appropriate -and the experience of shopping – creating environments that appeal to women 45+. What do we really want fashion retailers to provide that will switch us back on to enjoying connecting with fashion- shopping? 55% of women in this age group find it hard to discover clothing that they think suits them and the same figure -55%- stick to high street brands where they can try on before buying. 66% of the surveys stay with shops they feel comfortable in, even though 9 out of 10 put a lot of thought into outfit selection. My question would be where is the sense of adventure there? We need to encourage them to take a few more risks with where they shop and try something different, especially the 30% who desire to shop more fashionably but think they are too old! We need to do an AofA round the UK bus tour to get their flamboyance flowing! Come on ladies M & S isn’t the only option. Surprisingly shopping in charity shops didn’t figure large on the creating a positive fashion after 45. It seems that the idea wasn’t consider necessary to the survey. I wonder what the data would have revealed had they asked how many 45+ women in the UK bought fashion items from the plethora of charity retailers on every high street. My experience of working as a stylist with this age group is that there is a definite positive shift in the way that they create identity with clothes. I have a sense that age brings with it the freedom to explore fashion without the restrictions of going into an office every day, or dressing to attract the attention of men; I know that AofA members certainly aren’t all wearing ‘age-appropriate outfits’ but are certainly having fun with dressing to suit themselves.

Media Impact on body confidence

Even with all the apparent positive aging attitudes that the report reveals that the women surveyed still feel underrepresented by mainstream media; 8 in 10 don’t feel TV advertising reflects who they are, with the same figure believing that their age group has no presence on fashion catwalks.

72% are concerned with the misleading effect of photo-shopping images leading to unrealistic expectations. The idea of real 45+ women’s bodies, the way we actually perceive our own bodies, and the manner in which we compare with celebrity bodies always comes back to Helen Mirren – 60% of those surveyed put her at the top of their most admired list – poor woman, can she never be allowed off her perfect perch.

The negative impact of the media on body confidence overall was deemed relatively low with 62% of women stating that the media had no effect on their body perceptions at all.

I was cheered by the fact that nearly 1 in 20 British women aged 45+ would post a bikini –clad photo of themselves on social media and this was before Alex Shulman posted her infamous image. Of the five panel members only one said she would absolutely not post a bikini- selfie, the audience weren’t polled, which was a shame because I really wanted to know; I also wanted to know how many would have put up naked photos on social media in order to walk the talk of positive body image but alas I didn’t get the chance to ask that question!

Sex and Intimacy

42% of women surveyed want more sex, with 6 in 10 agreeing that there is less stigma attached to dating in this age group than 20 years ago. I wonder if it is the other 4 out of 10 who make up the 42% wanting more sex. Sadly only 10% found that sex was better after menopause and 23% said that their post-menopause sex-life was worse. I’m pretty sure that the fact that only 25% of those surveyed felt that it is more acceptable to be promiscuous at 45+ has some relevance to this figure but I’ve yet to work out what that my be, or what promiscuous actually related to. I would have like clarification here, it all felt a bit prudish and a British brush it under the carpet attitude of not wanting the nitty-gritty. Come on I want to know what promiscuity means to the 45+ woman in the street, clearly the 24% only having sex once a year or less may be skewing the data.

Home and Work Life

Before the debate convened I was chatting to a fashion editor who only last week had become a freelancer after 40+ years of employment. It would appear, according to this survey,that being an older entrepreneur is still unusual; only 11% of those surveyed had a career change in their 50s. (There is no figure for a career change in the 60s so I’m reading that as 50+ which could be wrong of me). There was nothing in the report, which I could find, to highlight the growing band of older female entrepreneurs or freelancers who are generating positive working experiences for themselves.

25% of this demographic struggle with a work–life balance, which means that 75% have found a way to successfully negotiate this juggling act. Overall there was little good news in this section, with 45% of women in London seeing themselves as the main breadwinner compared to 34% in the rest of the country there was a feeling that there wasn’t much opportunity for these women to enjoy the extra leisure time that they had stated was the thing they were most looking forward when becoming a ‘midster’ (44%). Another one in five was most looking forward to their free bus pass, so more AoA bus adventures then!

How colourful are we really being at 45+?

The findings in this report left me feeling less than confident that this colourful life was taking place in many parts of the UK for 45+ women. I had hoped for multi-coloured chandelier earrings with bells and whistles. Or at least an exotic splash of red. It all felt a bit beige to be honest.

The panel didn’t seem very excited about being older either; they all looked great, women in their prime who should be having a great time, but the overall impression I had was that these women felt the choices they had were limited. I was very aware of my own bra-less state in a room full of sensible support underwear. This isn’t a judgement, merely an observation; my desire to be a bit of a rebel in the room, to see aging as an aspirational goal with a freedom-pass, may well have coloured my expectations of my fellow attendees. I just want them to have a bit of a blast in an Advantages of Age style. Come on ladies let your hair down and get on the Bus!

AofA Culture Interview: Susie Osbourne – Author


6 Minute Read

The inimitable club owner and author Sophie Parkin talks to writer, Susi Osborne. And helps us to not be so London-centric.

Susi Osborne, 69, was born in Winsford, Cheshire and still lives there, just not in the same house! She is married with two children. In 2006 she had her first novel published, in 2011 she started Northwich LitFest in Cheshire, just outside Liverpool. Angelica Stone – the tale of a young woman in care who has been sexually abused in her past, it also manages to be funny – is her 4th book, published on 8th Sept with a party at www.Vout-O-Reenees.com. please RSVP HERE if you wish to attend.

I’ve always dabbled in writing. As a child I convinced myself I was Jo March from Little Women. I used to lock myself away in my grandmother’s attic in her rambling old house in Yorkshire and write short stories using that as my pen name. It was my favourite place on earth, filled with all kinds of treasures and was a source of great inspiration!

My next step towards the writing of an actual book came in the form of my actress daughter’s need for monologues. She has quite a specific casting and monologues were always in short supply so I started to write some for her – with great success! This sort of spurred me on. Well, this plus the fact that my mother had by that time developed Alzheimer’s and I was her main carer. That was tough – I cared for her for ten years but, in a weird sort of way, it was also a source of inspiration. If there’s one thing you need to hold onto when dealing with Alzheimer’s, it’s definitely your sense of humour. I have so many funny stories. And so, as a form of escapism almost, I started to write my first book.

What were you doing before?

Before this, for what seemed like forever, I worked in libraries. That does sound really boring and is the stuff jokes are made of, but we truly did have some good times in the libraries where I worked. We certainly had a lot of laughter – or maybe that’s just because I’m a bit bonkers and don’t like to take life too seriously! There was not a ‘Silence’ sign to be seen, nor a ‘ssshhh’ to be heard.

You always look so glamorous. Is this also something you took up later in life?

Well, thank you for the compliment! No, I have always loved clothes and style – really ever since my teenage years when I would get the train into Liverpool. It was the era of The Beatles and the place to be – a fashionista’s paradise, lots of trendy boutiques. Lucinda Byre in Bold Street was definitely my favourite.

But then I discovered London and Mary Quant and Biba. Actually Biba had a massive influence on me. I think Biba with a hippy edge is still my kind of style. I just love textures – crushed velvet, lace, silk and feathers – and colour (even though I do always seem to end up wearing black!)

What gets you up in the morning and makes you happy other than writing?

I really am not a morning person – although sunshine helps. Seriously, our two little dogs are always so overjoyed to see me in the morning that I couldn’t fail to be happy when I get such a waggly welcome. We have a cavapoochon and a chug – they’re both only just over a year old and so are still very much at the bouncy stage. We are just a little bit besotted.

What made you begin the Northwich Literary festival and when does it happen?

Having been to lots of other literary events throughout the country, six years ago I had this idea to start one locally – Northwich LitFest. It seemed like a good idea at the time – the fact that I didn’t have a budget or that I had never run a festival before just didn’t seem to come into it. Never have I blagged my way into getting so many things for free in my life. But it worked. Incredibly, Northwich LitFest has now gone from strength to strength – I organise about 15 different events and the festival runs throughout June annually. It is such hard work, but I have met so many interesting people because of the LitFest, many of whom have become good friends. It has opened up so many doors for me too – for instance, I wouldn’t be having this interview with you now if it hadn’t been for Northwich LitFest, that was how we got to know each other.

Who are your role models in life or writing?

Weirdly, as I’m talking to you, Molly Parkin has always been one of my role models in life. I love her attitude and her warmth – and her sense of style, obviously! A couple of other people I know, who I cannot name on here, are inspirational to me too – I’m always full of admiration for people who have come from nowhere, and have gone on to achieve great things in their lives while still remaining nice people.

In writing, it would have to be Marian Keyes (love her humour). Although I aspire to be able to write like Jojo Moyes.

Any regrets?

Yes, I totally regret not doing so much more with my life at a much younger age. I think you can get bogged down with the minutiae of life, thinking you have all the time in the world – and you really don’t have. You only have one life – get out there and grab it with both hands while you still can!!

What has been your favourite decade?

My sixties have definitely been my favourite decade – I feel as though I have achieved so much, met so many interesting people. And it really doesn’t matter now what anyone else thinks, when you reach a certain age you feel free to do what you want to do, to dress how you want to dress. You feel free to be you! As for my social life – it’s gone bonkers!!

Any future ambitions as you head into your 70s?

I do have another book bubbling away, although it hasn’t started to make its way from my head to the keyboard yet. I quite fancy the idea of writing a play script too. AND art. I’ve always wanted to paint.

Are you any relation to George Osborne and is he actually referring to you when promoting The Northern Powerhouse?

Hahaha!! Yes, I am the Northern Powerhouse – undoubtedly! I did meet George Osborne once and my husband started talking to him about ancestors. Don’t think he was too impressed!!

It’s Never Too Late to Flirt


1 Minute Read

When I was young, I didn’t realise I might be good at flirting because I didn’t know I was doing it. I’ve always had a healthy interest in the male of the species, enjoying men’s company and loving a good old grapple in the bedroom, but when I was young, if I’d been asked, I might have attributed my success with men to having blonde hair, or liking a laugh, or being hungry for contact – all of which can help when flirting but don’t explain its subtleties. In my early forties, I was asked to facilitate a workshop on ‘something to do with relationships’ and remembered an occasion not long before when a theatre director had me and another actor flirt with him as an improvisation exercise. I did this so well that the director said he was seduced by me (in spite of being utterly gay). I thought, ‘I must have some sort of flair for this art!’ I decided I would teach flirting, deconstructed my own behaviour for content, and Flirtshop was born, a weekend course I ran for groups of people who had never flirted or had forgotten how to flirt, often because they had only just emerged from long, stagnant relationships, and were shy and demoralized with tiny egos.

It’s such a shame that flirting dies in long relationships (it doesn’t have to, but you’ve both got to want to do it). We usually associate it with the beginning of a potential romance. Does flirting always signal sexual interest? I think so, but it doesn’t have to have serious intent or a discernible outcome: it can be a fun bit of business with an attractive passing stranger like a cheeky waiter, or with a friend where the boundaries are clear and you’re free to tease. One of my ways of describing flirting is ‘talking with a twinkle’. This is helped by awareness of how sparkling conversation works (to and fro not monologuing, employing lightness and wit) and of how to listen and show interest (be sincere, find genuine curiosity in someone’s story, show them they’ve been heard). Flirting also uses body language in certain expressive ways, to draw attention to our best physical features (legs, chest, hair) or to show fascination with the other (playful eye contact, open gestures, subtle touching). There are degrees of flirting. If you’re a pair of curmudgeonly old gits, just having a moan together on a park bench might constitute a flirt in your world. Or if the atmosphere is right, the fizz is flowing and you’re both feeling beautiful and wild, a flirt could be oozing with bon mots, lavish compliments, double entendres and a feeling of sublime connection.

Theoretically, flirting shouldn’t be any different with age. And yet, I’m flirting less these days. I rarely meet men of my age (56) through work – currently I’m running improvisation workshops for lots and lots of younger people, who have a tendency to de-sex me because, naturally enough, they’re not interested in their mum. On my way to Lidl recently, a ruddy-faced drunk weaved his way over to me and said, with frank appreciation, ‘Where’ve you been hiding all my life?’ Beer-goggles or not, I was genuinely cheered. I didn’t stick around though – I have my standards (and Lidl was about to run out of croissants).

Finding my own flirting skills blunted is concerning for a person who was a bit of a natural. There are good reasons for the decline, not least having had two longish relationships taking up most of a decade. But it’s also because I’ve lost confidence, the face and bod being a bit ravaged and the energy occasionally flagging. So, I am writing this to rev myself up and get back in the saddle. Here are my tips for Flirting in Older Age, as a spur to both you and myself to keep this delightful and life-enhancing form of communication going, dodgy knees and thickets of ear-hair notwithstanding.

Get Out More
You can’t flirt with the cat. There are innumerable ways to meet people, some of which such as speed-dating or tantric love-fests positively encourage flirting. If you’re looking for fellow oldies, hunt for your peers through Meet Up groups (walking ones are good), University of the Third Age, am-dram, Five Rhythms, group holidays (Skyros, Cortijo Romero) or age-streamed singles events. I haven’t tried Tinder yet but personally prefer hitting groups of potentials rather than sifting laboriously through scores of individual charlatans, exhibitionists, and nut-jobs to find my gold.

Get Real
Stop ogling the svelte/teenage/film star type. They’re out of your league. Pick on someone with your own girth/faded glamour/air of decrepitude – MUCH better chance of success.

Wear Nice Clothes
It’s a truism that image counts for more than anything when we first encounter someone new. You don’t have to be lustrously beautiful but good clobber will invite eyes to be drawn to you, and you need that to get started. When on the pull, go for something very flattering that’s not dull. We wrinklies can still have sexiness or swagger in our dress – silk shirts, glimpses of flesh through the translucent material, a jeweled walking stick. Go crazy with the shoes – for women, loud colours, a bit of a platform or lots of straps, for men, an elegant polished brogue (sends shivers down my spine), biker or Chelsea boots. Sexy signifiers don’t age, so if you can get away with it, go for it (I’ve yet to see a woman who doesn’t look hot in fishnets, a fur stole and long gloves). Wear conversation pieces – a T-shirt with a cool slogan or image, a stylish hat, unusual accessories like cascading earrings, a cape, a fan.

Don’t…
…stop grooming because it’s all a bit of a bother. A huge percentage of what attracts us to others is smell – make sure yours isn’t Eau de Rancid.
…go out wearing the same crap you wear for slopping around the house in the hope that someone will see through the exterior to your inner beauty. They won’t get near enough to try.
…wear a T-shirt saying Please Don’t Interrupt Me While I’m Ignoring You which I saw on a mature man in the street – who looked like he could do with some friends.

Definitely Do…
…look at www.advanced.style for inspiration. It is GORGEOUS.

Have Creative Conversations
Flirting isn’t rocket science. The most important aspect of it is simply talking. To keep interest, make the conversation creative. I once went to a boring party where I knew no one and made it fun by going up to people and asking them how they would decorate their ideal bathroom. I was a hit! People love being invited to use their imaginations. As oldies, we also have massive memory banks to plunder, and the most crystalline memories are those of our youth so exploit those. Have a mutual rave about the music/fashion/food of olden days (that’s punk, sculptural hair and fondant fancies for me). Or find a specialist subject that you both like (there’s always one) and compare years and years of notes. Let the talk lend itself to humour and take the piss out of young people, or of modern gastronomic phenomena viz. coffee shops, artisan bakers, clean-eating. Have a funny, self-deprecating conversation about aches and pains (whilst paradoxically looking fit as a flea and twinkling fetchingly). Give all your attention to the other person and concentrate on helping them to feel good. When it’s all going swimmingly, drop a little sex into the ebb and flow, and see if they bite.

Do Intimate Actions
Invite someone to sit down with you. Ask to borrow their reading glasses. Touch their arm, naturally whilst chatting, and if they seem to warm to you and divulge more personal information, touch it again for a little longer. Ask for a sip of their drink. Offer them a chocolate. Watch their mouth while they talk. Look into their eyes for a beat or two longer than is seemly. Pay them a compliment, disappear, and let them come and find you.

Value Yourself
Just because you have a soggy bottom and no discernible jawline doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be treated like a god(dess). If someone is mean or insulting or expects you to be grateful for their attention, summon all your dignity and walk away from their poisonous emanations. And if flirting online provokes unsolicited dick pics and aggressive messaging, consign those plonkers to the digital wilderness.

Online Wisdom
If you’re going down the computer dating route, have a crib sheet of deal-makers and deal-breakers so you’re clear on the qualities you’re looking for that really matter to you. Recently I posted my profile on an online magazine’s dating page to gauge the lie of the land. I disguised myself with a platinum blonde wig, lots of eye and lip make-up and a false name. I was besieged by scores of men (see what I said about sexual signifiers not changing?). My first deal-breaker quickly became apparent: anyone who had a bad photo was out. It was shocking how many men posed in front of a peeling garage door or their fridge, in long shot and out of focus. If you can’t get an ok photo taken in the age of smartphone cameras, what hope…? Then I eliminated bad spellers (I’m a word-nerd, what can I say?). Then I struck off men with job descriptions I didn’t understand. Then I withdrew because I couldn’t bear people falling for a fake me and wasn’t ready to show the real one.

Once you’re exchanging messages with someone who seems half-way decent, don’t spend weeks working your way into a fever pitch with increasingly flirtatious texts, or even phone calls. I did this years ago and on the instant I met the man in the flesh, I knew it was a no-go. He had a pudding-basin haircut, a goofy demeanour and was as sexy as cabbage. I’m not saying people can’t grow on you, but let connection develop in the meat world, not the robot world. Unless you only want cyber-flirting, in which case, knock yourself out.

To Close
Goodness knows there are a bunch of things about getting older that can be a (literal) pain in the neck, but age can make flirting a lot more fun than it was when we were striplings. Here’s why:

• Without rampantly out of control sex hormones dictating every move, we can enjoy more refined badinage and make flirting less about conquest. If we’re after physical contact, flirting can be more about finding someone with whom we can share loving touch rather than a rutting mate.
• With a lifetime’s knowledge and experience we have more in common with more people, and more conversational scope.
• We know our own boundaries better, and can listen to our own needs, so we can say ‘No’ more easily – which makes it a lot easier to say ‘Yes’ when we want to.
• We care less about looks and more about the quality of a person. We make more effort to find out who they really are, which can progress repartee beyond the superficial.
• We’re less proprietorial with age. We can flirt with lots of people and have many different individual friends, for sharing different activities.
• The appalling self-consciousness of youth has gone. Our priorities have changed, we know the true value of things. We can be measured and gentle and reasonable. So, we can indulge in a little flirting fun without the stakes being too high.

Still feeling bashful? Just remember: there is no such thing as failure. If you attempt a cheeky sally or two and receive no response, do not feel defeated – flirting is not an exact science. If your target responds with a look of aghast incredulity or a slap round the face, you may want to recalibrate your style. But short of those, it might just be that they weren’t in the mood or you’re not their cup of tea and that’s not the end of the world. Nothing ventured etc. Ageing is potentially dangerous. It can lead to closing down rather than opening up. Let’s avoid loneliness and get out and flirt more.

Hello handsome…what are you doing later?

AofA People: Linda Devo – Art Teacher, Bass Player


1 Minute Read

Linda Devo has charisma shining from her pores. Thank goodness, she’s just formed a rock band.

HOW OLD ARE YOU?

46

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Bristol

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I teach art in a mainstream school 3 days a week, one day a week with a 15 year old rock god who is autistic. The rest of the week is spent servicing my desire to explore what I’m going to do next.

TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE YOUR AGE?

It’s a heady mix of exhilaration that I’m still alive (thought I might be not by now), grumpy cos things hurt coupled with a very large desire to be healthy and fit for some serious living ie fulfilling my dreams of travel,  rock stardom (finally formed a band of equally unskilled, middle-aged women) and creating community wherever it is I find myself.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?

Wisdom, nouse, self confidence, strong sense of responsibility, experience of winning, creativity and knowing what to do with it, assertiveness in large measure and a healthy dose of not giving two f*#*s what others might think!

WHAT ABOUT SEX?

What about it? Time is an issue, with a partner it’s less simple, having individual desire be in rhythm with the demands of daily life can be challenging. I imagine if I was single, it would be easier to have non-committal, animalistic fulfillment of sexual desire but I’m more discerning now so maybe that’s just a fantasy.

AND RELATIONSHIPS?

Richer, clearer now I have better self-knowledge and have done lots of work on healing my wounds and untangling neuroses, much more enjoyable, less hurtful, less deluded.

HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?

Hmm, it’s complicated, more responsibility, conversely much freer.

WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?

Transforming my circumstances; the person I’ve grown to be ; my wonderful son ; my relationships ; my ability to be creative and resourceful,  the ability to change and grow…

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

Practicing Nichiren Buddhism, my family and friends,  my work,  role models , technology , life itself.

WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?

Often

AND WHERE DOES YOUR CREATIVITY GO?

My home,  work,  making art and music

WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING?

Create value , respect the dignity of life,  seek the potential for good in everyone,  create happiness,  remove suffering.

AND DYING?

Be prepared for death so I can live joyfully in each moment.

ARE YOU STILL DREAMING?

Yes, more so than ever

WHAT WAS A RECENT OUTRAGEOUS ACTION OF YOURS?

Define outrageous?

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