"Getting old is like falling in love for the first time - you have to discover it for yourself in all its density and richness." (Martin Amis)
One thing is for certain - we all get old - everything on the planet does. But how we approach it and how we deal with it is such an individual thing. My brother, Jack, used to say that from the moment we are born death has got his eye on us. I used to think this a morbid view of life (although my brother enjoyed life immensely for his allotted sixty-six years), but just maybe it is a healthy attitude to construct because we are none of us immortal; some have longer than others but maybe quality is much more important than quantity here.
Martin Amis went on to say, in a debate on "Literature and Ageing" at Manchester University's Centre for new writing, that in one's mid-fifties death becomes intrigued by you and "starts sniffing you up."
Do you, dear blog friends, find approaching old age a depressing prospect, or do you embrace it as the inevitable consequence of being born and make the most of it? Alright, so signs of vigour are waning: my knees creak when I climb the stairs, I feel the effects of walking up the incline in the lane in my hips, which seem to stiffen instantly in protest, and I no longer stand on a chair to clean high windows being all too aware of the consequence of a sudden dizzy spell. But on the brighter side of that my eyesight is no longer good enough to see the cobwebs on the high window anyway!
Clive James says that at 70 he seems to have found a new form of strength. Hs says, "I want to retain the right to feel vigorous when all the signs of vigour are on the way out!" He cites another form of vigour - vigour of mentality - and I would agree with that.
Regardless of one's life style one has to do things more slowly. Therefore one has more time to think and to mull over the pros and cons of issues that are of concern - to decide what is really important and to discard triviality.
Both physically and metaphorically, if walking down the lane these days means going more slowly, then it also means having more time to notice the ephemera - the skeletal holly leaf, the cleverly-marked feather, the last harebell in the hedge-bottom, the last rosehip, glowing like a ruby, in the hedge. I can stand and listen to the robin's shrill little song and enjoy it while leaning on the field gate and gathering strength to walk back up the hill.
Do you remember the first time you fell in love (to go back to Martin Amis's premise at the beginning of my post)? I certainly do. In fact another aspect of growing old is that one can view such events through rose-tinted bifocals.
And how do you deal with ageing? Regardless of your age now, make no mistake you are ageing and we all have to cope with it on a daily basis. Do you embrace it, make the most of it, value it for what it is? Well I am pretty certain that readers of this do exactly that - after all you are not just sitting by the fire in your slippers and dozing, are you? No, you are out there doing things, writing about them, constantly thinking, "what can I put on my blog today."
As some one once said (surely it was a Yorkshireman!) - live each day as if it is your last but spend your money as though you are going to live for ever." Not sure about that last bit On the day that death comes knocking on my door I don't think I want a purse full of money - a clear conscience is much more important. Have a lovely Sunday wherever you may be spending it.