Friday, 15 January 2016

Never let a Wrinkle have the Last Word

I was 70 on the last winter solstice, and more than one person has expressed well-meaning sympathy for my growing old. Well, I am happy enough...most of the time.

Yes, I get aches and pains in unexpected and often inconvenient places and, yes, my treatment for prostate cancer doesn’t exactly agree with me. Even so, whenever I start feeling sorry for myself, and lamenting my lost youth, I recall a lovely old lady in her 90s whom I used to visit when I was on the staff of a local Home Library Service. She was housebound, and suffered with severe arthritis, but had a smile for everyone. I asked her once how she coped with not being able to get out and about. "Oh, but I do," she said without hesitation. "I read, watch videos and TV, listen to the radio...and let my imagination take me places you cannot imagine. Yes, I miss walking, of course I do, and neither my eyesight or hearing are are too good these days, but imagination...well, that lasts forever just so long as we give it its head and don't let real life have its wicked way with us..."

Life is what we make it at any age.  We all want different things from life, and it is down to each and every one of us to get the most out of the time we have, on the best terms available to us, instead of constantly brooding on the worst.

Did I say it was easy?


Growing old can be scary,
but there’s not much we can do
about it…?

So shall we take the dog
for walkies, put the world to rights
with next door’s cat, indulge
in some chat TV, watch a DVD
and leave it at that?

Ah, but there’s more
to life than our practising
the art of killing time
even if time is no friend
(or real enemy either)

Oh, and I haven’t heard
from so-and-so for ages so time
to get in touch and find out
when we can meet up, catch up,
(maybe even make up?)

The grapevine has it
a new class is starting up;
Now, was it art, crafts
or yoga? No matter, time enough
to find out more

I’ve always wanted
to do things folks said I couldn’t,
see places they said
I really shouldn’t ‘at my age’
(Yes, even then...)

Although time does us
no favours (or is it vice-versa?)
we can put records straight,
marginalise wishful thinking
and regret

Time to wake up, get up,
make up for missed opportunities,
(at least in part) though aches,
pains, and all sorts may have lots
to say about that

Time to call on an old pal
(Will Power) to haul him out
of his comfy armchair
and make damn sure he’ll start
pulling his weight

If growing old can be scary,
there’s no end to what we can do
about it…

Copyright R. N. Taber 2013; 2016

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