Monday, September 8, 2014

My 70th Birthday Thoughts on the poem: When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

Below is a copy of Jenny Joseph's poem: When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

I am seventy today so I looked up this famous poem which I think was the inspiration for the Red Hat society. I have never been to a meeting. I don't wear hats and I steer clear of all organizations. But since this is a milestone birthday for me, I am going to write my own newly made up rules.

When I am an old woman (Which is now) I shall always wear comfortable shoes.
Even to weddings!
I shall spend my pension on myself!  If I want to travel, I will. If I want to spend eighty dollars on lipsticks from E Bay, I will. ( Did it last week)
I will eat anything that I desire and not worry about the cost or the calories. 
I have always gobbled up samples in shops. I will continue doing that. (Did it yesterday at Costco.)
I can't make up for the sobriety of my youth because I was a rebel and not always sober.
I have always been a stick-on-the-railings kind of person. So no changes there.
I have picked many flowers in other people's gardens. And I have always spit when necessary.
So what different things would I do in retrospect?

Love and accept myself more! I would accept my spitting and my flower picking and my sticks-on-the-railings and love myself anyway. I would see my own beauty and feel as good others. I would always see the perfection in myself and in people around me. I would not feel that I had to change anything or anyone--including myself. I would not feel that I had to have a man to complete me!  I would stand tall. Complete and whole! I would love myself unconditionally and therefore I would be able to love others unconditionally. I would eat cookies and cake without feeling guilty. Pie too. I love pie.

More Love! More Acceptance! More Cake (Especially carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.) Life is short.

One last comment: Now I have a new life password: SEVENTY! All I have to do in a tough situation, like setting up a checking account at the bank (did it last week) is stare into the other person's eyes and say  "I am Seventy years old. What can you expect?" That gives me all kinds of new freedoms because what CAN you expect from a seventy year old?  We are invisible to society anyway. And we are often disrespected so there is no reason not to use that to my advantage. I am OLD. Give me a BREAK!

Okay another last last comment: Purple has always been my favorite color. I will never like walking in the rain. I always sit on sidewalks when I am tired. It is the Mexican way. I am adapting to the culture.


  1. Kudos to you and happy 70th birthday! :)

  2. Happy Birthday, 70 is not old! After you get home I need to talk to you Thank you. C. O. Nicks

    1. Thanks. Okay, let's talk. I will be home Friday. p

  3. Love it!!! Purple AND Carrot Cake are my favorites, too! Wishing you a wonderful new decade and much beyond...
    Birthday hugs,
    Karen in VA

    1. Hi Karen, Thank you for writing and for the birthday good wishes. Let's skype with the children again this year. Your friend, p

  4. Happy birthday. With luck, your 70s could well be your best decade, for all of the reasons you cite in your essay.

  5. Hi, Pat - Still skimming through your past few years on my way to the present. I was already in love with Ajijic from seeing pictures and reading other sources, but your blog has been helpful and enlightening, and I've enjoyed it very much.

    Now here I am at your 70th birthday, and it turns out we're almost exactly the same age. I turned 70 in November of that same year. Still looking forward to a chance to meet you when I come to Ajijic for a week in October. I will definitely be in touch about it before I leave Seattle.