Somebody said old age is not for wimps. How right they were; and I must say that the news that one in five of us might live to be over 100 does not thrill me either - it doesn't say what kind of decrepit state we might be in by then.
I prefer not to think of myself as old, but rather - as Stephen Phillips said - mellow, like good wine. There - now I have said that I feel less sorry for myself already!
But, joking apart, I don't think anyone over the age of 65 would have any difficulty at all in making a list of the disadvantages of getting old - eyes, ears, muscles, teeth, balance, memory for starters. All of these begin to weaken as we get older - to varying degrees. But we are stuck with it, aren't we? So let's make the best of it for as long as we can. Many of our friends tend to be in the same age group.
I am lucky in that I have a son who lives very near to me and some of his friends are my friends too so that brings down the average age of my friends at bit.
But amongst my friends one has rheumatoid arthritis, four are in remission from cancer, one is recovering from a stroke, one has a husband with Alzheimer's disease and another has a husband with severe diabetes. All of these are cheerful, interesting people - without exception - getting on with life and finding interesting things to do.
So how heartening to read in today's Times a plus for getting old!!! The University of California has done research which suggests that emotional intelligence peaks in one's early sixties. Old people are more sensitive to the feelings of others (I must say I do know one or two who did not fit into this mould.) People in their sixties become increasingly sympathetic to the feelings of others (ditto last brackets), they are more resilient and more likely to see the positive side of things.
It seems that studies have been done which suggest that old people should not be isolated into special "villages" however much money they have to be able to afford such retirement homes. Francis Bacon studied this area and came to the conclusion that a healthy mix of all ages was the best way to live because "that way the virtues of either correct the defects of both."
But as we now enter the beginning of David Cameron's Big Society I find it hard to relate any of these findings to the austerity to come, much of which seems to centre on the elderly.
Services like free buses, libraries, community centres - all of which are likely to suffer in the cuts to come - are so vital for people who are no longer able to drive, or who are not particularly mobile. Can you imagine living thirty years after becoming fairly housebound? (For this will probably happen in some cases). I have friends who would like to be computer literate and would be willing to pay for tuition at a slow rate - but where are they to get it?
So, end of moan for today.
The temperature is rising here and the snow is disappearing, although there are some icy roads about still. There are heavy dark clouds everywhere and rain and strong winds are forecast - but warmer with it. They even promise temperature up into double figures by the weekend - that almost needs capital letters.
today's aros: crows wheel then perch in the bare ash tree, all facing the same way.