Trevor’s latest brainwave: individual thoughts on ageing
From time to time, Trevor likes us to pool our thoughts on a topic of interest. This time, he has chosen the topic of ageing, relevant to all of us, but most particularly to those of us nearer the end than the beginning.
Trevor Plumbly 75
Ageing is a polite way of describing the fact that you’ve reached a stage in life when very few people seem older than you. To counter this and avoid depression it’s best to reflect rather than anticipate. I find that if you avoid reality, it makes ageing a heck of a lot easier; problem is, that angst has become so popular, that in entertainment ‘happy ever after’ doesn’t exist anymore! It’s been replaced by meaningful trauma and underlying psychological hurdles.
In daily life, electronic keypads and plastic cards are rapidly becoming more important than personal presence. My early years were far from happy ones, but they did have moments of wonder, influenced by people who bothered with other people, literature that transported, and a clearly defined path between right and wrong.
Poor memory, induced by advancing years prevents me from offering further insight into this topic.
Susan Grimsdell 76
Getting old isn’t really what it’s about. It’s actually about keeping in good health. I have a friend who’s 88, but when we go for a walk, she gets frustrated if the rest of us (who are much younger) are too slow. She especially likes going up hills. While I slow right down and can’t talk and go uphill at the same time, she zooms on past, and waits at the top.
Signs of old age, like wrinkles, arm-flaps, unsightly body bits, looking pregnant when you’re way past the possibility, are really irrelevant. They have no effect on your enjoyment of life, unless of course you still haven’t got over valuing yourself by how you look.
If you’re lucky enough to keep your fitness and health, if dementia hasn’t seized hold of your mind, if you have your important faculties like vision and hearing, and if you live in a first world country with an old age pension, you can have a very good life. Reading, going to lectures and the movies, travelling, having a laugh with friends are all wonderful.
My favourite answer to people who ask me what I do all day is, ‘Nothing I don’t want to’. Doesn’t that sound pretty good?
Angela Caldin 70
The one thing that’s certain about ageing is that it’s inevitable, though some of us get further along the timeline between birth and death than others. We never know when ageing might stop and death might come: babies die, children die, young people die, middle aged people die, old people die.
When we get beyond 70, one of our main concerns is to stay healthy and somehow avoid the many and varied illnesses and diseases that can affect the elderly. One person has multiple sclerosis, another has motor neurone disease, another Parkinson’s, yet another has some type of cancer. The list goes on and on, so we hope against hope to be spared and to drop down dead one day without pain and suffering.
My wish is this: that I might have about 15 more healthy years to spend with my children and my children’s children, to see them make the most of life, working hard yet having lots of fun. Life is fragile, happiness is fragile; there is tragedy and difficulty at every turn. I am sceptical about an afterlife, or about everlasting life. All we can be sure of is the here and now, so let’s embrace it with generosity, with kindness and with love.