Age is just a number - Our mindset and lifestyle can determine how old we really are

Rachel Moore applauds the choice we have these days over how we lead our lives. Picture: Getty Image

Rachel Moore applauds the choice we have these days over how we lead our lives. Picture: Getty Images/Image Source - Credit: Getty Images/Image Source

A great-grandfather marked his 100th birthday by skydiving from 10,000 ft – and wants to do it all again next year when he turns 101.

In the same week, a 55-year-old grandmother gave birth to triplets and is looking forward to going back to work as a nurse.

Wowsers. If these two don't teach us we've reached a time when age is just a number and lifestyle is governed by attitude (and a bit of luck, good genes and, in the granny-mum's case, money and science to make it happen) nothing will.

Centenarian Verdun Hayes is fortunate to have physical health and strength on his side, but it's how he thinks that really makes the difference.

Most people half his age believe they are – and want to be – past it. Wild horses couldn't drag them from the sofa to a parachute.


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And Sharon Cutts' breezy matter-of-factness about getting on with the baby stuff like she did first time round, going back to work and doing what she's always done, managing a hectic family, leaves no doubt that, as a 55-year-old mum, she'll give thirtysomething yummy mummies a run for their money in the sports day mothers' race.

With a busy nursing career, years in the Navy and a couple of marathons under her belt, Sharon Cutts is not a woman to let life pass her by or slow down without a fight.

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Investing thousands in having three new babies at 55 isn't a typical dream for women of a certain age who want to put their feet up.

I can't think of anything worse at a time when we're pulling our lives back to be pregnant again and all the baby brain and newborn zombie state that brings.

But we shouldn't criticise her belief, energy and optimism to embrace life, opportunity and all she can do while she has the chance, however unconventional her choices might be.

And what business is it of anyone else how people choose to live their lives?

If she wants to approach pensionable age doing the school run, football and Brownie runs and refereeing squabbling, it's her choice. She's paid handsomely for numerous rounds of IVF treatment.

Today, with a positive frame of mind, good diet, exercise and affluence, we have the privilege of deciding how old we want to be – to act and live.

If 50 is the new 30, then pregnancy at 50-odd, with the help of fertility technology and a hefty bank loan will become more frequent.

There might be other ways to do the children thing all over again, with children who really need a woman like Sharon in their lives.

But adoption, fostering, volunteering and supporting isn't for every woman. Some have an overwhelming urge to have their own children, especially like Sharon, when in a new relationship, in her case with a man 15 years younger.

That's where money, clever science and optimism come in. She ended up in Cyprus for the treatment because they treat women up to the age of 60, when the NHS only provides the process up to the age of 42.

Lucky Sharon. Her days of nan puffs – that 'pffff' women of a certain age make when we sit down – day naps and wearing our portfolio of aches, pains and stuff packing up as badges of honour are years away. Good on her.

Verdun, his birthday card from the Queen next to him, is the oldest man in the UK to skydive and doesn't look a breath over 75.

Freefalling alongside his two great-grandsons, was 'lovely', he said fulfilling an ambition he'd had since he was 90.

How glorious. 'I've always been a daredevil,' he said, embracing every day with verve and enthusiasm. As one who groans about tiredness every day, I felt ashamed. I love their chutzpah.

'I have longevity in my blood so there's no reason why I won't be around to meet the triplets' children,' said Sharon.

No reason, indeed. Eight-year-olds have the agility of 50-year olds and 50-year-olds act like 80-year-olds.

It's our choice, our mindset and lifestyle can now determine how old we really are. And that's so exciting.

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