Sunday, January 9, 2011

Old Age

Age is an issue of mind over matter. 
If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
                                               - Mark Twain.

Old Age is inescapable, sooner or later we are all going to get there, unless of course you are unfortunate  enough to die young. That's not an alternative that most of us wish to contemplate and given that we escape an untimely end we are all going to reach that time in our life when we retire, either through age itself or infirmity. That's when, to put it bluntly, the shit hits the fan. I retired at fifty five. According to the Armed Forces you are to old to be any bloody use after that. Others, in this country, work until they are sixty five and then, if they qualify, they receive the Old Age Pension, or Seniors Pension as the Bureaucrats prefer to call it.

Some are fortunate and take on the role, quite often full time, as Grand Parents, OK, OK I can hear the howls of disagreement, some are FORCED to take on the role of Grand Parents, or pseudo Parents, because Mum and Dad are out earning a living. But for those of us not blessed with a tribe of snot nosed little ankle biters to terrorise Grandma's cat time suddenly starts to weigh very heavily on our hands. When you have worked nine to five, or other odd hours, for all your adult life not getting up to go to work in the morning is a bloody huge shock. It's great for about the first week or so, you can lie in bed and twiddle your toes till some disgustingly late hour. Then the rot sets in, and it accelerates!

The first thing you realise you have to do is give yourself a kick up the butt, get out of bed, even though you think there is no longer a reason to, and find something to do. All those hours you used to spend at work are hard to fill in, especially if you now feel as useless as tits on a bull. Some people take up gardening, some play bowls, some decide to try for a second childhood. Some of us are lucky enough to have a hobby and it's very easy to substitute the hobby for the job. I know one bloke who made wooden toys and he built a whole new career for himself, and he'd never worked so bloody hard in all his life! His wife wanted to become a Grey Nomad, sell up the house, buy a Winnebago and just take off. He was to busy so she met up with a fella from the Bowls Club and took off with him. The bloke burnt his work shed to the ground, sold the house and started chasing younger women, until he figured out he was to bloody old to catch them. It takes all types.

On the other hand I've seen a lot of people who surrender to the concept of old age, when they retire they go sit in a corner somewhere and wait to die. That can be a long slow process especially if you allow the brain to deactivate, Yeah, I said deactivate. Why is it some people  are so bloody dim they don't understand that even if the body is failing they still have to keep the brain active. My advice, get a hobby, or get some sort of interest that challenges the brain to actually tick over. You can survive loneliness, you can tolerate infirmity, but if you let the brain go to sleep you might be better off dead anyway.

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