In the latest of our Friday features in which we invite readers `of a certain age' to have their say on a topic of the day that really gets their backs up NINA BOYD, of Marsh urges retired people to make the most of their new-found freedoms

I AM saddened by the negative attitude of so many older people.

They seem to complain in droves that things just aren't what they were; that everyone is in a hurry; that bread doesn't taste the way it used to; that life simply isn't fair.

Well no, it isn't! So perhaps we should grow up, accept that this life is all there is, and make the best of what we've got.

Because what we've got is truly marvellous.

The world isn't perfect; but then, it never was. There has always been war, poverty and injustice, and it is right that we should try and do something to change all that; but comparing today with yesterday, and finding today wanting, can make us needlessly disheartened and defeated.

It is a beautiful day: the sun is shining, the sky is a perfect blue, and the snowdrops are in bloom.

How can anyone complain about that?

It is all a matter of how you look at things, and what you see.

Is that group of noisy teenagers a threat, or a bunch of cheerful individuals with a zest for living?

Do you enjoy a good story, or do you let a small grammatical error become so important that it can spoil it for you?

Do the days drag slowly by, or do you have problems fitting in all the things you want to do?

Those of us who are lucky enough to be retired have no right to grumble.

Retirement is liberating, and we should celebrate our freedom to do as we please.

Everyone can enjoy life if they want to. It just takes a little effort, and trying something new can be life-enhancing.

Even if you are short of money, alone, or in poor health, you can still do things to increase your sense of well-being.

You can ride on a bus, read in the library, or sit on a park bench for nothing. If you feel lonely, the chances are that somebody at the bus stop or in the checkout queue is lonely too. A chat and a laugh costs nothing, and you just might be making someone's day.

Life is wonderful, and if there isn't much of it left, all the more reason to seize the day and have some fun.

It is a mistake to think that all the best things are reserved for the young. They have to concentrate on building a future; they haven't the time or the inclination to learn something new, make something useful, or just sit back and enjoy.

Now that we don't have to work for other people, we can please ourselves. Why waste that opportunity? Every minute of every day is yours; and here are some of things you can do:

Give somebody something - a few minutes of your time; a kind word; a letter if they are far away.

Smile at that spotty youth. Tell someone how well they look. Take a working neighbour's dog for a walk (good for all three of you!).

Give yourself a treat - don't just get in the bath to get clean: sing noisily while you are there.

Brighten up your home with a cheap and cheerful bunch of daffs. Butter a crumpet.

Learn something - a poem, a language, a craft. It's never too late to take up knitting!

Stir things up - write a letter to the Examiner; organise a coffee morning for your neighbours; get a discussion going on the bus.

Try something completely new - join a chess club; go hang-gliding; get a pen-friend; find out everything there is to know about penguins; grow some mustard and cress; get a paper round, and earn a bob or two into the bargain.

The list is endless. I would go on, but I'm far too busy squeezing every last drop out of life.

Be positive! Put a great big smile on your face, get out there, and show them what you are made of!

IS there something annoying you? Is there something about today's world that you need to get off your chest? Or is there something you feel is great? If so, why not share it with us? Each Friday we're giving `seniors' the chance to write on a subject of their choice. Interested? Then tell us in no more than 100 words why it should be you. Send it to: Get It Off Your Chest, Features department, Huddersfield Daily Examiner, PO Box A26, Queen Street South, Huddersfield HD1 2TD or email

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