How old are you ? How old am I ?
I fantasise that I am nineteen, I would be happy if I were somewhere between the ages of thirty and forty. People flatter me saying that I look to be around forty-five. The truth is I will be seventy years old in November. Right now it is not good to be old !
In the present pandemic I am considered vulnerable because I am older !
The Beatles released When I'm Sixty-Four on the album Sergeant Pepper in 1967. I was sixteen back then and could not possibly imagine what it would be like to be sixty-four. No way ! Now I would give anything to be sixty-four again.
The death toll has rocketed in Britain over the past twenty-four hours, seven people have now died in Milton Keynes Hospital. During the course of the coming week the Prime Minister is going to write to every home in the country outlining a tougher lock down. I don't think I am going to catch Corona Virus even if I am in the "older" category. If I do then I do not think my age will automatically send me off to shake hands with The Angel Of Death but I do not like being old.
As a kid I hated the dentist. I went from 1960 to 2016 without visiting the dentist ! You can calculate how long that is. In 2016 I embarked upon having a set of false upper teeth. My dentist messed it up ! The dentures do not fit properly, they are too small meaning my upper lip completely hides them and I can not smile. They are the wrong colour and a total mess ! When that failing dentist retired I went back to try and have things put right. Another failing dentist extracted my bottom teeth, that was last August. MESS ! Here in late March my jaw is still not right. I have no teeth, it is difficult to eat, I can not smile and the whole thing makes me look old !
It is probably three years now, well almost, since I saw my GP. I just have not been ill, Not bad for an old boy !
So I do not see how being old has anything to do with my present situation.
Old people are supposed to retire. Until this lock down came into force I was working a 12 to 14 hour day. OK, yes there were times when it got a bit on top of me but now I am just sitting about the house watching rubbish on television and writing. I am coping well with that but what is frightening me is that when this pandemic is over I will have slipped into a lifestyle where inactivity is normal and I will not want to return to my previous action packed days.
I am not old but I am scared I will soon be so.
When I was a child I used to have panic attacks, I never told anyone and nobody save myself knew about the attacks. My whole body was consumed with fear and panic as I contemplated death. I knew I was going to die, we all do at some time or but other the prospect of that event threw me youthful into panic. Now the prospect of that day does not bring any fear to me, none at all. When it happens it happens. The fear, the panic is not of the last day I have on Earth but spending however many days, weeks, months and years I have left being old.
When does a person become old ?
I remember on my 10th birthday my granddad telling me that I was now grown up as I was in double figures. These days adulthood comes at the age of 18, it used to be 21 years. I passed my 18th birthday without it being special but by the time I reached the all-important year of 21 the government had reduced the age of majority so that rite of passage in my life came and went without notice. Thirty ? I was too busy living life to notice. Forty ? My Dad said I would not enjoy my 40th birthday as it meant my youth was in the past. My 40th birthday came and went without notice. So did my 50th. We had a bit of a party for my 60th. 65 meant I could claim my pension - wow that was good so being an old age pensions was cool. Now I approach 70 OMG !
The number 7 has been a lucky number for me. I remember my 7th birthday, yes I can remember my party. 17 and I had escaped school, was in the world of work and having great fun as a teenager. 27 I got married. 27 - 47 - 57 - 67 good times. 70 and I have to apply for a new driving licence, I am not sure which I dread the most - being old or having to jump through the red tape hoops to apply.
Perhaps I should just skip being 70 and look forward to my 77th birthday !Please John, Paul, George and Ringo can you change your hit record to WHEN I'M SIXTY SEVEN !