When I was younger, old people used to annoy me. They’d get in my way, putter around when I wanted to hurry. They’d shuffle along, backs bent, maybe a walking stick in hand. Silly old farts.
Like I said, maybe I’m getting ‘old’. These days I look at those old people, hunched over their canes, shuffling along, and I wonder what they were like when they were young. They’ve lived a life. Been to school, fallen over in the playground, kicked footballs, built billy-carts, had a cat or a dog or a horse, or maybe all of them. And then they were teenagers, bopping along to Buddy Holly or Bill Hayley. They went to the drive-in, snogged (or shagged) in the back seat of the car. Perhaps they sat in the back row of the pictures on a Saturday afternoon watching serials of Tom Mix or the Shadow.
Those folks might have had kids, gone through the trials and the joys of childbirth and raising a family. Now maybe there are grand-kids, perhaps great-grandkids.
There was a time when those backs were straight, those legs strong and active. Maybe, like me, the brain in that old head thinks it’s still thirty. Or twenty-one.
These days, I don’t have much time for the emails circulating amongst us retirees listing all the things ‘we’ used to have. So what? Time stops for no man. Life goes on. I remember my mum saying (in the eighties, I think) that she wouldn’t want to bring up children in ‘this day and age’. And she’d cite the cold war, and drugs and cars and crime and and and. This from a woman who married in the Great Depression and lived in occupied Holland through WW2 with five small children, before packing up the whole kit and caboodle and migrating to Australia in 1955. I hear it now, too, from people my age. Sure, I feel sorry for today’s kids in as much as they’ll find it harder to buy a home, they’ll have to cope with pollution and global warming. But my generation had its own burdens. Every generation does. And for every generation, it’s the same – and yet different. They’ll cope. It’s their life, their choices and they’ve never known anything else. And they never will.
I also don’t have much time for older people who won’t even try to cope with computers and the like. Sorry, but it really isn’t hard. It’s a matter of choice and the benefits of the internet far outweigh the drawbacks. The ability to easily keep in touch with friends and family is probably number one.
So I guess it’s possible I might be one of those with a bent back and a walking stick sooner, rather than later. But my brain won’t be old. Of that you can be sure.
Happy New Year, folks. And remember, that old fart was a young fart, once. Live life to the fullest. Try things. If you don’t like them, stop. Life is not a dress rehearsal.