TURNING POINT AT 75
This last week I reached the age of 75 and it has somehow seemed to me like a turning point. I have to accept I have moved almost seamlessly into the last section of my life.
These days our lives would appear to fall into four sections, rather than three – given the improvement in our health which has increased our longevity. So I reckon we now have childhood, early adulthood, middle adulthood and then the later years, when we are back to old age. I have reached that latter platform and it has set me thinking about ‘reviewing my situation’.
Obviously one of the drawbacks of the later years is the deterioration in general health. Unless you are extremely lucky you will be more prone to aching bones, arthritis and what the doctors euphemistically refer to as ‘wear and tear’. On the whole I have been lucky, but of course I do notice the various aches and pains, especially in the back area. When we are younger we just never imagine that our bodies won’t last – but they don’t. None of us escape! We also have less ability to throw off the minor diseases. As the wonderful 19th century wit Sydney Smith put it, “every ailment seems like a knock at the door.” The only way to face it is to say to yourself what will be, will be, and keep taking the vitamins and drinking the Nutri-bullet concoctions.
The other main drawback for me is that I seem to have a shorter fuse. This is especially evident in my inability to tolerate ‘noise’. Loud music is the worst culprit and ‘musak’ in restaurants drives me mad. It is completely stupid to go out for a meal if you have to scream your way through the evening in order to make yourself heard! But musak is everywhere, at the doctor’s and dentist’s, in reception rooms, shops, airports, etc. etc. It seems we can’t survive without some meaningless music in the background.
But it is certainly not all doom and gloom. I feel rather positive about the years I have left. The pressure and stress ought to be less. There shouldn’t be that panic, and the feeling you need another four hours in the day. In general there is more leisure time – time in which to catch up with the books you haven’t read, the music your haven’t heard, the films you haven’t watched, the friends you haven’t seen, the places you haven’t visited. I also take huge pleasure in watching the next generations grow up and I love to spend time with children and grandchildren.
Perhaps most important of all, I look on this milestone as a turning point. Over the last year, maybe in anticipation of moving into the last section of my life, I changed careers. It started as dabbling in writing and I embarked on a trilogy of novels, THE THREE LIVES TRILOGY. The first two books, PARALLEL LINES and TRIANGLES IN SQUARES have thankfully been well received. The third book will be published in April and my writing has turned from a happy hobby into a serious career. So my days are fully occupied and I hope I have several books left in me before I finally shuffle off. Of course it has been an added help to have had 75 years of experience to draw on and I hope I now have a more measured view of the human predicament. My life has been so full of incident I certainly have no shortage of material to draw on!
So onwards and upwards as they say – and as I reach for a glass of wine, I hope I am a wiser and happier person and will remain so for the rest of my days.