'Don’t dream your life, live your dreams'
Baptist church member Angela Lucas, 84, authors book about living life to the full in later years
Struggling with the ageing process? Wondering what now? What next? Or what it’s all been about?'
These are some of the questions Baptist church member Angela Lucas is seeking to answer in her new book How to be a Super Ager – Living Life to the Max in your 50s, 60s and beyond. It carries a motivational message of ‘don’t dream your life, live your dreams,’ explains Angela, of Church from Scratch in Southend. While primarily for people of third age, its message is relevant to us all.
In many ways Angela is the embodiment of living life to the max. This is her first book, published aged 84. She was inspired to write after tackling part of the ancient Camino de Santiago two years ago. ‘At every challenge, especially steep walking uphill and yards of sticky black mud, the refrain in my mind was “this is what it feels like to get older”,' she says.
'It wasn’t a defeatist thing but a challenge to make the most of. To be renewed and invigorated.’
She hopes that readers will be gripped by the idea that our later years are not necessarily for winding down: they can be 'delightful, rewarding and have means and purpose.’
Her own life has shown her this. She spent her wartime childhood years in Rhyl, north Wales, a time of learning self-sufficiency and contributing to the family larder. Alongside marriage and the birth of her five children, she followed a career in nursing. In her 50s redundancy encouraged a change in career, prompting study for the Private Secretary’s Certificate. This led to work in Saudi Arabia as a medical secretary and later as a TEFL teacher in Egypt, teaching English while attempting to learn basic Arabic.
These opportunities were ‘a game changer’, she says.
‘Firstly I realised that it was only by ‘an accident of birth’ that I was born in England and at a time when schools taught us scripture. Millions of people around the world haven’t been born into such luxury.
'It taught me not to take my good fortune lightly but to understand that my privilege came with responsibility to be very open about Jesus Christ. In particular I have a heart for Muslim women and am relaxed about forming such friendships.’
She has been a long-term member of Church from Scratch, the pioneering Baptist church plant in Southend. Minister Peter Dominey says she isn’t just writing about living life to the full – ‘she is doing just that’.
And she’s not writing naively: in her book Angela addresses common inhibitors to living life to the full, such as health or family or social problems. ‘I am very aware that for many people life can be tough, lonely, painful and physically limiting,’ she says. ‘But not necessarily inhibiting – think of Stephen Hawking.’
It’s something she’s had to face in a very tangible way. Six weeks ago her home and its contents were decimated when a fire beginning in the neighbouring house rapidly spread. In ‘less time than it took to eat a sandwich’ she was homeless. She says she was deeply shocked, but with ‘a deep, deep sense of being cared for in heavenly terms.’
‘Now I am living in rented property just next door but one to my own home – hopefully by the end of the year the house will be rebuilt and a new chapter of late life will begin.’
There is a strong biblical message underscores what she says and writes. ‘For me at the moment, it’s to do with responsibility while being very aware of being secure in the care of my Lord and saviour. How I react and behave will say far more than any words I can ever use.
‘None of this is said lightly, and in spiritual terms, even at this late time in life, in this situation, I am a work in progress!’
Find out more about Angela and her book How to be a SuperAger in her blog angelalucaswriter.com. It can be bought on Amazon here.