I’m writing this post the day after my daughter’s 16th birthday. I got two hours sleep — her friends stayed over and didn’t go to bed until around 3am!
And I don’t feel brilliant.
It’s unusual to feel like this but in a strange way it’s good for me to sense what it’s like to write with limited energy and concentration. The words seem much more important.
I too had a birthday this month; I turned 52. As is the way, there was no fanfare, no party and no major celebration; it was, as I’d requested, much like every other day. Sorry, that sounds pitiful, but it’s just the way I’m wired. The bigger picture is that I’m well past the half-way point of my life and it won’t be long before I start talking about entering the 3rd act of my life.
Nothing really, but I do know that I won’t have the energy or health that I’ve had for a very long time and I’ll have to work with failing eyesight, breathlessness and a whole range of other common-place health issues. Sure, I could take the view that I’m going to apply great gobs of willpower to keep the ageing demons at bay but I don’t feel I need to or it would be helpful to my life.
It’s not like I covet old age, but I do long for a day where there’s no expectation of anything, particularly those long-held feelings about work.
Does that mean I’m ready to retire?
Yes and no.
Yes, in the sense that I’d love to get off this f- treadmill but, no, in the sense that the word ‘retire’ means nothing more to me than the word age. I won’t retire, I’ll just go on…until the end and hope that I retain enough of my faculties to appreciate life.
Being 52 is not that old but if I don’t start to feel my way back into life, slowing down to appreciate a simpler, more natural way of doing, then when the hell will I?
Perhaps it’s not something to wish for. Life is life and everything will look after itself, but I do know that in my speech, my eating and my walking I’ve made a conscious decision to do things at a calmer, slower pace. And it feels a much better way to live than to rush through everything always wanting to get somewhere else.
But I think we all know this, don’t we? When we’re on holiday or away from the coalface, there’s a natural tendency to want to enjoy the deliciousness that is life and the simple things that nature, food and friendships have to offer. We slow down naturally.
Imagine then if we could maintain that contemplative approach at all times. It’s overstating the point but I’m sure the world would be a kinder place to live.