I caught myself this morning trying to draw with my eyes no more than a few inches about the paper, I finally resorted to reading glasses but I wasn’t happy about it. At forty six years of age, I’m finally having to start seriously worrying about my body as much as my mind. My mind has been a constant source of annoyance and frustration for decades now but the rest of me is catching up. I could laugh off the back trouble, particularly as it started back in my twenties due to ill advised bedroom athletics with an ex girlfriend. Then came ‘the forties noise’ the low grunting and moaning that accompanies any even slightly strenuous activity. Then last year, wham! crippling chest pain, pins and needles, exhaustion. It’s all half the reason I was such a ratbag at times, but try telling that to anyone… The only people who get forgiven I find are drunk people, and the civilised middle class sort at that. Anyway, chronic heart disease at forty five basically, so that’s what I get for having such an eventful youth. Whoopsee!
The other day, whilst picking up my monthly supply of medication, a depressingly large supply of stuff with comedy side effects that can make life tedious, I was offered a flu jab. It seems I am now officially regarded as vulnerable in my body as well as brain. It’s so strange… You’d think it was the Lilliputian chicken wire shoring up my arteries that would get me down, but nope! It’s the flu jab, such a banal little thing compared to being wired up, pumped full of drugs, having my arteries sliced into and a load of cable threaded into me. I guess that’s what gets me, the banality of it. A tick on a box somewhere that says, Christopher! you are officially a knackered old codger. I certainly don’t feel old in my mind, granted I don’t parade about town like the rest of st leonards and Hastings, out every night trying to be involved in whatever just for the sake of it. I accept the wisdom that comes with age gladly but that is not the same as acting old. Acting old now seems to be to pretend you are young and naive, do things with enthusiasm that you have no skill at. Sod that! I like having dignity, I like having brains, I like being sober and I like seeing everything I’ve done and done well, I like taking pride in what I do but retaining the humility not to be proud. God! I do trot it out…
I am designing Christmas cards at the moment and I am finding it more than a little unnerving. My last Christmas was grim to say the least. A combination of poor health conditions, loneliness and well… That’s about it really. As things are going now I suspect this Christmas will be a grim affair, I hope for better but hope on its own is futile occupation. At least I can be thankful for the knowledge that I won’t be at death’s door this year. Granted I will have plenty of offers, the Christmas dinners, the parties, the Christmas club nights and New Years do’s, but they are hollow things to do if your heart isn’t in them, just a way of marking time and keeping up pretence. I’m not one for that, pretence, as I mentioned above there is a lot of that about and I can’t abide it. I will ignore it, and it might , just might, go away but probably won’t.
I do worry though, when I watch things repeat, watch the world go around in circles and the people with it. Am I jaded or wise? Perhaps wise enough to know I’m not wise is a better third option. I get frustrated though, watching so many of my age and above clinging to the notions of the music and fashions of their youth as if it has some great relevance and unifying force. I am young enough to understand the fluidity of culture now, a great sea of information that has been released into the void and how music, art, literature now has little meaning beyond that we choose to give it. When I see someone of my age clinging to their youth I just cringe, embarrassed for themselves and for me by association.
Truth be told, I don’t feel old, I don’t feel young, I just feel like me. Which is handy, seeing as that is who I am.