Ann Hawkins

During my life I have been very fortunate, in that I have experienced and am experiencing many wonderful things, including great love. I have visited beautiful and interesting places, but have also had difficult times due to family illness. I derive great pleasure in talking to people from different cultures. These things all give perspective to life.

Being out in nature is important to me; I experience great pleasure in just looking at a tree, a river or a flower, or in seeing birds and animals. These vary so much depending on the light, the time of year and the situation.

My own mortality has only passed through my mind occasionally, though in a few weeks’ time I shall be the same age as my mother when she died. This fact is making me pause to reflect. As with many people getting older, I do have a fear of dementia. I really enjoy puzzles and games, especially with the thought that this may help to keep my brain functioning satisfactorily.

As a humanist, I believe that we have one life so must make the most of it and appreciate it to the full. We live on in the memories of other people, especially our family and friends.

I would like to have means to end my life if it becomes intolerable. Having that ability would, I think, be reassuring. I also fear not being able to action this myself. I have experienced three elderly relatives who, near the end wished their lives to end.

Being older also gives me the opportunity to reflect and focus on what is important to me in life and to savour it.