Monday 24 October 2016

Anna Nolan: I can't wait to say hello to my pension

Older couple enjoying life
Older couple enjoying life
Children playing
Laura Bassett

I've always looked forward to getting old. Like retirement-age old. It might be a strange notion, but there is something about coming into the less hectic, less crazy years that is appealing to me.

Time to mooch around. Time to go on long lazy holidays. Time to do exactly what I like.

Others have said how much they fear this stage of life. They don't like the idea of their looks going. Or the body seizing up a little. As for the guys losing their hair? Unbearable.

But I don't see it that way.

I had a wonderful woman called Liz Feely in the office last week. She was researching a TV show and was employed for two weeks. Liz is an incredible researcher.

I knew her from the RTE documentary series Would You Believe. But Liz has worked on all the best shows. She's dynamite.

Liz retired recently and was only stepping back into the TV world for a short while. Even though there was the offer of a longer contract, Liz wasn't interested. Liz had her gardening, her history club, her husband and friends.

Liz was living the good life and there was no way, not even with an offer of working on an entertainment series - not even with an offer of sitting opposite me - was she going to come back to work.

New research shows that older people in Ireland are having a ball. They are living a more social life than young people in their 20s. In a survey conducted by Standard Life, it was found that 89pc of our OAPs eat out at least twice a week.

They exercise more than twentysomethings - 17pc of the over-60s exercise daily, compared to 12pc of the young bucks. As for friends, retired people on average have 10 close friends compared to six people for youngsters.

This notion we may have that life starts to become smaller when one gets older is nonsense.

We all suffer a little from gerascophobia - a fear of getting old. I imagine that before one can come to a contentment with being older, one must go through an adjustment period.

There's the midlife - where we buy sports cars, hairpieces and find younger men and women way too attractive and, even worse, think they find us attractive.

Then there's seeing your children grow up and leave the house. I have heard of the empty nest syndrome and I have seen parents struggle with saying goodbye to someone who has been living with them for at least 18 years.

Then there's also the idea of you being left with just your partner. For some, this is very, very strange.

But once that all settles down, the time is right to live it up. Joan Erber, a US psychologist who has written a book on misconceptions about old age, said: "Once the children leave home, there's evidence there's an upswing in marital satisfaction."

So, it's all ahead of some of us. If we think life is good now, it's nice to know that it's going to get even better. For those who are living that retirement dream - keep it up.


If it's summer time, then it must be time to pack the children off to a camp


When I was young, I was happy with the field out the front to play in and the friends on the road to play with.

Summer days were long and filled with games. I'd run in to have my sandwich and a glass of milk, knock it back in two minutes and run out again. When it got dark, I'd be in trouble if any of my sisters would have to come and find me. They were older and cooler and never happy to be sent looking for me.

We've all blabbered on with this type of nostalgic twaddle. Yes, summers were warmer, Kool Pops were the business and life was simpler and happier. A childhood memory is always wonderful.

Things, in fairness, are very different now. Parents are more reluctant to let their children out for hours at a time. That blind, naive faith in humankind has gone forever and we are much more aware of the dangers that children may face.


The answer? Camps! The country has gone camp mad. There's a camp for everything. Sport, music, language, dance, arts and crafts. You can pretty much have your child interned in camp for the whole summer. But it is going to cost you.

A football camp run by the FAI will see you pay €65 for the week. A five-day rugby camp is €85.

I remember wanting to go to the Gaeltacht as a child, but it was just too expensive. I really don't know how parents manage it today. It can be €800 for three weeks in the Gaeltacht.

The only camp I went to was the Rialto Summer Project. We had baking classes and watched movies. The one thing we all wanted to do was head to the driving track on the northside of Dublin and learn the rules of the road.

Throwing your child out for the day is a thing of the past. If you want them to do what all the other children are doing, it seems you have to camp it up for July and August. The upside is that they learn new skills and hang out with their pals. The downside? More overtime at work to afford it.


Cruel fate for a terrific player

Poor Laura Bassett. The English defender had the most catastrophic interventions at the Women's World Cup semi-final in Canada.

After playing a vital role in getting her team to Wednesday night's semi-finals she sent the ball into her own net in stoppage time, handing Japan a 2-1 win.


It was heartbreaking seeing her reaction. Bassett - being comforted by teammate Jo Potter, left - knew that she had ended the dream for her country.

It would be terrible if she was remembered only for this, as she is a terrific player. Onwards and upwards, as they say.

Couple call it quits after a week

Surprise surprise. The Irish couple who met each other at the altar and got married have called it a day. The two took part in a competition run by iRadio - and they lasted less than a week.

Don't be shocked - the warning signs were there. They had never met before. He had been single "for eight or 10 weeks" before the experiment. It was probably the worst publicity stunt ever.

To be honest, after all the hard work, sweat and tears that went into the Marriage Equality campaign, it seems that the gay community would have more respect for marriage than these two straight numpties!

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