Querulous today

I read this somewhere, a while back, don’t know who wrote it –

From birth to 18, to live life to the fullest, a girl needs good parents.

From 18 to 30 she needs good looks

From 30 to 50 she needs good luck

After 50, she needs good cash.

And STILL my Premium Bonds aren’t spitting out that increasingly essential million pound payout.  In the not too distant past, one planned to fund life up to 70. Now life expectancy is over 80 and rising, and that’s downright scary. A couple of blogs ago I mooted a tontine but no-one seems yet to have forwarded it to the Chancellor. Tchah. I really don’t want to live to a great age if it involves being infirm, reliant on others, and / or poor. In fact between thee and me I don’t want to live to a great age at all. 10 or 20 extra years between 30 and 40, absolutely, but tacking them on at the end, eek, no. When vigour and agility and joy in living starts to diminish, who wants to still have a 20 year sentence to complete?

My daughter gets married next March and may produce a grandchild or two – she’s not promising anything. Maybe then I’d feel differently and want to stick around for as long as possible. Right now if the great cosmic bell rang in my ear and a voice intoned ‘we’ll get you to the wedding, but after that you’d better tidy the house every night before you go to bed because time’s nearly up’ I’d be pretty shaken but not devastated. In fact, sneakingly relieved. The definition of middle-aged keeps stretching, and I do both admire and wonder at people of 70-plus who call themselves middle aged. I’ve heard it said that middle age starts with the first mortgage. Does it end when that’s paid off? There’s another old saw – forties are the old age of youth. The fifties are the youth of old age.

Am I old? I worry about my finances, socialising gives me a headache, and I can’t run up a flight of stairs any more. I’ve never been great with names, but now I’m having occasional problems with faces, too. Sprinting for the train leaves dancing spots in front of my eyes. I’ve started getting ailments I never heard of, that I have to look up on the internet. Well, okay, just one, but it’s the thin end of the wedge. There are increasing streaks of silver in my hair – pretty soon I must choose between streaking or dyeing it, or just letting it pick its own colour. I’m seriously considering writing post-it notes to myself, to carry them from room to room, because it is so bloody irritating to forget what I was going for.  Any day now someone will offer me their seat on the train and I won’t know whether to simper gratefully or be resentful. (Who am I kidding? Both.) It doesn’t help that as a weathered South African living amid the superb Scottish skins I already look ten years older than my contemporaries.

Bette Davis is quoted saying, at 70 plus, ‘old age isn’t for sissies’. At 10, I’d have dared anything rather than be called a sissy. Now, I’m wondering whether I’m up for the challenge. You’re as old as you feel. Today that makes me about 97. Tomorrow – who knows. How’s your day going?

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5 thoughts on “Querulous today

  1. Oh, now you’re just boasting, a g-g! I’m a great-aunt 11 – no, 12! times over but that’s mainly because my family is well spread out, my brother’s youngest son is the same age as my sister’s youngest grandchild.

    Your vote for dye is noted, esp as I too have green eyes. And in this weather, a fetching slightly sunburned nose.

  2. I’m still dyeing my hair red; it makes my green eyes look better. Having grandchildren keeps me going; my mother became a great-grandmother to two of them and I hope I’m lucky enough to be a g-g too.

  3. How’s my day going you ask? I know this is a generic question put out to all but since you ask, pretty lousy thanks. Flu.. Who knows maybe swine flu. Non functional right hand. Cold cold nights on the highveld, sore fingers. Unpacked boxes.
    But thanks for asking! Actually, not so bad. There’s much that life has to offer … But do you know any amazing skin tightening face cream that delivers on its promise to remove at least 10 years from visage in one week? this would make me happy ..

    • As long as it isn’t manflu, you should recover. Leave the boxes, take a complete holiday, not as cheap as the wonder cream (did it but exist!) but oh so much more fun. By the way, that’s doctor’s orders. Stand down, soldier.

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