I’m Still Standing

Monday 12th March

Another great song – by Elton, of course.  This song practically kick-started a career beginning to be weighed down by a self-inflated ego, and the memory of when he was really good.

And, the surprise for me, is that I am still standing.  I was 67 yesterday (today, as I am writing) and to tell the truth I never imagined I would last this long.  I have lived a rather reckless life, nonchalantly courting danger, ducking and diving, and dodging the stones hurled in my path.  Well, 67 is not that old you might say.  True, but just recently Tom Petty died at 66.  And when those your own age start popping off you begin to consider your own mortality.  Not that one can do much about it, of course.

I am relatively healthy.  No serious health problems – but more than a few niggles.  But then, you never know just what might be round the corner.  My only known blood relative, my maternal grandmother died in her early Seventies of cancer.  But there is no point in worrying.  I go for the check-ups when required.

But how old do I feel?  Well, more and more I am beginning to feel my age, or older than I used to anyway.  That familiar struggle to get off the sofa, the bones that ache, the middle of the night shuffle to the loo (at least once).

I suppose my constant guide has been my parents, who are just 20 years older than me.  They are far more conscious of having less time; for me it is still a philosophical question.  Ten, twenty or even more years are simply numbers – though time does have a habit of going faster the less you have of it.

I write a lot about wisdom, but I have no idea what that really is.  Certainly, the older you get, the more experienced you are at dealing with certain situations.  Looking back we can all be amazed at how stupid we were twenty years ago. “We wouldn’t make those mistakes now.”  No, but we may well make others.

The other thing about ageing is that your memory becomes more selective.  I can often recall scenes from my teenage years in quite vivid detail, but my Forties and Fifties are harder to remember.  As for last year or a month ago, I really have to wrack my brains to remember what happened.

I suppose the greatest benefit of being a certain age is that you know what you are good at; and avoid what you aren’t.  Also, the value of things changes.  In my thirties a big house, lots of holidays, constant salary increases; all seemed quite important.  Nowadays I really don’t care much about money; I keep an eye on things and won’t get into debt, but my needs seem less and less.  My family ask what I would like for Birthdays and I really have no answers for them.  I have more clothes than I can wear, more CDs than I can listen to, more books than I will ever read.  I wish I could write more often – but I have always had to be inspired to write.  I did write a poem yesterday (words…) which I posted as my blog.  And incredibly that came to me almost complete, I woke up with the first line and the rest just followed.  And so many days I waste, even though I am fully conscious that there are less of them left.

But despite that, I’m still standing.  As a child the very idea of being Sixty was unthinkable; now the inevitability of being Seventy and even Eighty are looming larger. Well, let us hope so, anyway.