Monday, 16 October 2017
Disappointed with how things are progressing?
The biggest nasty and the one I can do nothing about is getting old. Do you know, sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat at night - all because I retired 10 years ago. Or an event comes into my head: a party at some friends' house. Then I recall that they're not my friends any more since I haven't seen them since that party 34 years ago. The shock is palpable. Or that my mother died 36 years ago and I'd just started my last job when my father died - 14 years ago. Or that it's 50 years since I shared a flat in West Hampstead with some college friends.
Meeting up with old friends can be traumatic as well. Are they still healthy? Will they mention a work colleague who's died recently? Are they losing their hair, their memory or mind and all they seem to be gaining is inches round the waist.
I don't feel old, except now two or three hours down the allotment means I'll fall asleep on the settee afterwards. I see some of my friends slowing down, mentally and physically - I don't tell them. I wonder if they're thinking the same about me. I'm torn at times between thinking it's time to relax, slow down, put my feet up or whatever euphemism fits, and then again determined to keep pushing myself. Usually the energetic me wins. So I go down the allotment 3 times a week and weed and dig or cut up wood. I'll join another evening class, writing or poetry group, write a few poems or chapters of my many unpublished "novels". I'll try one of the brain teasers on line - until they get too difficult, and set up a new spreadsheet to calculate our net worth or whether we can splash out on a new bathroom.
I'm looking forward to the trip to Antarctica with my friend Peter this March. I've enjoyed figuring out how I can afford it and enjoy telling people about the up coming trip. I've started head planning other adventures. Fifteen years ago I spent a day , with Peter, gliding. Why 15 years has lapsed since then I don't know, but I think that's something to consider. That and power flight! Also I'm attracted to going to hard to get to places. The Pitcairn Islands strikes me as a pretty good idea. Except, I saw a programme about New Zealand sub antarctic islands - they look pretty inhospitable and fantastic. I did, however, see a programme about the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda. A trip to those places would be a sort of half way house.
I reckon by planning something in the future; something different I'll keep living. I've seen too many just relax into inactivity and slip away without really noticing. If I can feel like I'm keeping my end up life-wise, then Brexit, the calamitous state of UK, European and American politics, the increasing unfairness and the obscene worship of money, status and position won't weigh me down so much.
Not if I've icebergs as far as the eye can see, roaring seas and penguins in March and a trip to Disappointment Island in say 2019.