As I turned three score, or 5 dozen – or , for the mathematically vulnerable, simply 60 years, I thought this was a good time to take stock of a life, which, to use a cliché, had just whizzed by. Hackneyed adages like ‘age is only a number’, ‘you are as old as you think’ etc rose to the surface, as they often do on such occasions… particularly when you want to be in denial of your advancing years. Mooted the idea of writing about reaching this landmark to the wife, who is also my ‘resident’ editor. She barely suppressed a yawn, and rendered ‘two bits’ of advice: 1) my 60 years hardly the stuff which makes the adrenaline rush, and, 2) another long blog from me may lead to my permanent ostracization from the blogging community.
Never short on criticism, the better half also reminded me that I was now a senior citizen. For good measure, she added that I wear this epithet like a loose robe…if I did not hold on to it tight, it might fall off anytime and expose me – and that would not be a pretty sight. I mumbled something like, I never cared much for this term…would rather remain a junior citizen, something to which my mind, heart…and I dare add, the body…were much better suited. This was uttered under my breath, so I got away.
Well, my disappointment and attendant quandary at the materfamilias‘ rebuff were only momentary. In fact her disaffection and lack of enthusiasm had the opposite effect…I immediately got down to writing of my six decade saga. Except, I thought I would heed the bit about keeping it short – or of readable length.
So where does this genealogical landmark find me? In a good place, I would imagine. I have more friends, am better read, play better golf, eat better, drink finer whiskey, sing more merrily, travel more (pre Corona), care less about trifles, love more, live more – if only because of the realisation that life’s aircraft is on the descent and may touch down soon. There’s more…I find the opposite sex more attractive (evidence at hand suggests that the reverse is not true). Wonder if I am a freak, or this is another rite of passage! I socialise more, particularly with the young and the women. Am not too sure though, if they give me their time due to kindness or genuine desire. Most importantly, I speak my mind without fear or favour… no more care much for being liked or appreciated. Except of course, try not to hurt people…
Maybe I am uncoiling after years of remaining ‘coiled’ in a service which, amongst other things, required you to be ‘propah’ most times. Maybe it’s all the pent up emotional energy, the bottled up me coming out. Maybe bucking the trend is a new found passion, after toeing the line for long. Maybe whatever…. but, as I said, it’s a good place to be in.
So what about the aches & pains which begin at 60? The creaking joints, the wheezing breath, the belaboured walk, tennis elbow, the kidney stones and the enlarged prostate? Well, no evidence yet. So, my detractors, mostly the gang of my roguish pals, ask me if I intend to go to the Valhalla in mint condition…Far from it, I say. There is damage too. The ego is hurt, the respect dented, trust broken, vanity gone, pride eroded, relationships creaking. As for the organs, the liver is probably bruised a bit, but not about to give up any time soon. The heart is rosy, the brain more active than before, the eyes rove more, the nose smells trouble quick…so no lament. Of course the full body-check that the wife insists on when I blabber thus, may tell another story. But we will deal with that another day. For now, the cup of youth brimmeth over….
Chancing upon my unfinished ruminations, my wife, the dreaded ‘resident’ editor, had a peek into what I had been punching in. She said (and I am putting it in kind words) that as always I had churned out rubbish which belonged in the trash can. And, she asked with more than usual disdain, about this bunkum in re finding the opposite sex more alluring. Was I seeing someone? My lack of virtue at an age where I should be heading for the Himalayas was roundly and soundly condemned, as was the fact that I had become amoral (or is it immoral) at this age. My meek defence that I was only being candid elicited a rebuke that I was inviting infamy not only on myself, but the family. So much for candour and honesty.
So, spoilt through childhood, an imbecile in youth, mediocre in middle age, it took approaching old age for me to to really find me. Hereon, life’s a breeze. If my six wasted decades on earth have taught me anything, it is to not care too much about what others think. I do not want to make this trite by leaving ‘lessons from life’ and such preachy stuff. But cannot help pass on a couple of tips for those knocking at the doors of the geriatric gateway: do not indulge in nostalgia… instead, indulge yourself…do all those things you always wanted to but never could. There is time yet. A small list of ‘activities’ could help:
- Go places…but not on guilt trips.
- Beat the blues… but not around the bushes.
- Walk the talk…but not the tightrope
- Throw the gauntlet…. but not old age tantrums.
- Try your hand at new things… but not others’ patience.
As someone said “Time may be a great teacher, but it’s a lousy beautician.” . So the wrinkles will take over, the shoulders droop, the eyesight weaken, the back will bend as touch down nears…but do not despair. You can actually be yourself now…or, if you want, a better version of yourself, even if others find you otherwise, as in my case. But as we say in the Forces…bash on, regardless.
In sum, to again borrow from a scholar, have decided to add life to years, rather than just years to life. The seventies suddenly seem even more alluring. Can’t wait to get there. Watch this space for the gains and losses of seven decades. Cheers🥂
© Sharabh Pachory, 2020. All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction.
Cartoons, pictures and featured image from sources as indicated against each.