By Sandra Topp

I told my grand daughter I was thinking of becoming an eccentric.

“What’s an eccentric?” she replied, spoiling my little joke.

I said it’s usually an older person who is tired of conforming to the norms prescribed by society. Thumbing your nose at fashion, and what is supposed to be acceptable ways of dressing, behaviour, etc . . .

She replied by saying, “Good on you Grandma, you’ve already nailed it.”

I was a bit put out at that, I thought I was fairly up with the styles of a modern senior, even if I do buy most of my clothes from Kmart or Millers.

Lately, however, I have become sick of trying to keep up appearances. I look in the mirror and the truth looks back at me. I know I’m no spring chicken, so I think it’s time to relax. Does it matter if I go to the shops in my slippers? I have only recently noticed doing this this, accidentally. I was initially appalled, then decided not to worry about it at all. I no longer have the desire to fight my comfort zone, take me as I am or drop me off your contacts list, and I will happily disappear from your view.

I will no longer fuss about the trivial superficial bits that tell no one who I am at all.  Who makes these rules of behaviour anyway . . . fashionistas . . . cosmeticians . . .hair stylists . . .
Or health professionals with programs like, ‘Living Longer Living Stronger.’?

Deathly dull and boring I say. The concept is great, but can’t we improve body strength and balance in more inspiring ways. Line dancing, tenpin bowling, even “tea dances” where you can at least find a bloke to support you for a few minutes, now and then. I play old ladies’ golf, twice a week, along with other women of all ages. I didn’t learn this addictive pastime of belting a small white ball around until I was fifty. Most golf courses are approximately six kilometres of beautiful natural gardens with bird and wild life habitat scattered here and there. The walk in itself, out in the fresh air, away from polluted streets and the hustle and bustle of the urban scene, is refreshing, and obviously full of health benefits.

I am lucky to be able to measure my place in our hierachy by my immediate family. Once your grandkids are taller than you are, they are usually only too happy to show off and help with computer glitches and any IT problems. Remote control settings, mobile phone apps. digital cameras. Fascinating things that I am  more inclined to want to use my diminishing brain cells on, than the historical pastimes for the elderly. I mean “craft work”, now more often than not being pursued by younger women. I once knitted and sewed for necessity, and never found it fun at all.

I’ve decided use my age to my advantage now, pretending I haven’t a clue about something, and asking for help. I tried it out just yesterday. I had received a text message on the mobile three times from my  service provider. Demanding I go on line and fix up some discrepancies in my account details. I couldn’t be bothered. I knew this crazy website well and it’s a  nightmare to navigate. I took my account up to the shopping centre where I was planning to go anyway. I found the mobile phone shop and waited patiently in a queue. Now, this in itself is a changed behaviour, I normally avoid queues like the plague. When my turn came, a sweet young woman asked, “How may I help you?”’ I handed her my account and said, “Ccould you fix up the required details on my account, I haven’t a clue how to do it, dear,” smiling sweetly with my very best old dear’s smile. Smiling back, she said, “Of course”, and I stood and watched as she too had some minor problems surfing this ridiculous website. Then, eventually handing back my account, she said, “There you are, all done.”

“Oh thanks so much, you are so clever I just don’t understand these new things,” I said. To which she replied, “Any time, my dear, it’s a pleasure.” Cringing inwardly at the my dear, I smiled and walked out of the shop, strangely happy at my first step toward embracing the new eccentric me. Oops! I see I left my slippers on. Watch this space!