Life at 60: age is just a number, but time is precious
Christmas is barely over and the first Easter Eggs are in the shops. Nothing new there, but the media chatter about it just adds to the sense that someone has slammed their foot on the accelerator and is dictating the speed we feel we have to go at. December to Easter in nought to 60 seconds.
Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are in the mix too, like wee voices whispering in your ear to make sure you do something - anything - to honour manufactured days of celebration, but even before they get their five minutes in the limelight there’s a never ending parade of ads for sunshine holidays to get through. Ah, but if we’re going to book a beach break, we better be in shape, so here’s the annual plug for slimming clubs that will probably take more £s than lbs from you.
And so the cycle continues. Rinse and repeat every year. We follow like sheep - or maybe zombies - from one landmark to another.
This week saw Blue Monday come and go with wall to wall froth on daytime telly, in print and online. What started out as a marketing gimmick has become a ‘thing’ - the official ‘saddest day of the year’; which is complete and utter nonsense. It doesn’t even exist, but still the media churns out the same drivel which is then amplified across all platforms. For all the good it does, we might as well have a national ‘pull yourself together man, day.’
But these days click round on the calendar every single year - and add to the sense of time slipping by. Ticking away, the moments that make up dull day as Pink Floyd once sang.
And time is so precious. I turn 60 this week. I don’t feel 60. It’s just a number that I once thought defined old age. Turns out 60 is the new 40, so I’m cool with it, even if it does feel like a very definite slab is being placed on top of another decade. That’s your 50s done, move along and tick the next age box in the form, son.
I can’t say I relish the latter years when weariness and illness will start to impact, but it comes to us all. A mate reminded me of the words of Val Doonican’s daughter after he died aged 88 in 2015. "Until 87, he was as fit as a flea. It was just old age, I'm afraid — the batteries ran out."
I like the idea that the Duracells which power us from day one simply run out; slowly, gently and almost un-noticed.
But, before then, there’s the small matter of growing old disgracefully as I get my over 60s bus pass and hit the road armed with a thermos flask and comfy shoes. My wife and mates already have their passes so we’re looking at some big adventures. Pitlochry and Peebles better be ready for us. Three beers in and I’ll be balancing a traffic cone on top of a bus shelter like a bad episode of Last of The Summer Wine.
I have no blueprint for my ’senior years’ – and I can’t even begin to say how much that phrase makes my teeth grind – other than to get off the treadmill of work at some stage and go and do other things, until my own batteries run out. Life is for living. Time is our most precious commodity.