Dr Rosemary Stanton

Having been lucky enough to experience a rich, satisfying career in food and nutrition for more than 45 years, there’s a lot to be grateful for. For starters? I’m happy that I’m healthy, my weight is the same as it was 50 years ago and I don’t need pills or potions—although I am about to need reading glasses! Yet according to many scientific studies, 60-year-olds are ‘elderly’.

As someone approaching the end of my 60s, I certainly don’t feel old. I’m fit—not quite as agile as I once was, but fit enough to manage occasional 50km walks for charity. Forget the fancy hotels. My favourite holidays are still spent hiking for a couple of weeks. There are times when an unexpected glimpse in a mirror makes me question the identity of the person reflected back. If I had a magic wand, I’d probably wave it at my neck, although my husband of 46 happy years is quick to point out that if that’s my major concern, I should count myself lucky. He’s right, of course!

Sticking my neck out throughout my professional life has led to a fair bit of criticism, mostly from those with a vested interest in some product or theory I questioned. It took years to learn to ignore the hurtful remarks. As I’ve grown older, negative comments seem trivial and pointless—if I bother to read them at all.

Being 68 hasn’t impeded my hunger to keep up to date with the latest in public health. It’s taught me to concentrate on issues, rather than individuals. It’s a concept I’m trying to pass to my grandchildren. We can—and should—rail against theories that are wrong, but let’s stay away from personal attack. Play the ball, not the person. If others disagree, that’s their problem.

Grandchildren have been one of the best bits of growing older. Of course I’d expected to love them, but I was completely unprepared for the depth of the bond. As a mother of four kids, I was always busy working. In striving to fit everything in, it was easy to miss the everyday moments I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy with my grandchildren. My aim is to be there for my children, grandchildren and my husband. I’ll stay healthy, work a little less, hike a little more and spend more time in the garden. Life’s never been better!