Jo, 70, teacher

I’m 70 and I don’t care how old I am. I’ve had a fantastic life. I’ve had loads of friends, been to so many places and met the most interesting people. As well as being a teacher, I’m a London guide and I have an MA in hypnotherapy. Having the ability as a Western woman to do these things is a gift.

In the Sixties, I had huge fun. You could do anything you wanted back then; the world was your oyster. And there was great music. I love music. I took up opera and jazz singing five years ago and I love it. It’s really important to do exercise for your brain and your body – that keeps you young.

One thing I would say is that my energy levels are lower. Everyone around me is saying the same thing. I’ve always done 15 times more than everyone else, but now I’m slowing down. I can’t do the exercise I used to – I can’t do high impact any more, I can’t run like I used to.

Don’t reach out for perfection ’cause you ain’t gonna reach it. Anyway, it’s boring.

I’ve been thinking about gardening recently, gardens are like personalities; they change and mature. You should keep revisiting yourself – get rid of the old. And don’t reach out for perfection ’cause you ain’t gonna reach it. Anyway, it’s boring.

With ageing, everyone talks about the bad things – about your tits dropping – but there are things that definitely compensate for getting older. Everyone thinks I’m the most confident person who ever walked the planet but inside I used to feel little, then I got to my 60s and thought sod it, who cares.

I always said my life would certainly not be taken over by being a mother, or a grandmother. It doesn’t have to define you. But my daughter being born was absolutely the happiest moment of my life.

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