So, it started with me finding this little article on the internet which explains that mental acuity does not start to collapse until the age of sixty and, being sixty three, it set me off thinking about what I might already have forgotten: what might, quite recently, have become beyond my mental capacity. I cannot complete a Sudoku, but then I never could. I would ask you to remember that my own understanding of mathematics is only just a little less tenuous than Boris Johnson’s grip on reality. I constantly end up with two sixes in the same block and a corner, somewhere or another, with nothing but the numbers they gave you to start with and ‘fuck fuck fuck’ scrawled across it in ballpoint pen. I’m not totally certain whether this is a symptom of a rapidly deteriorating brain, but then I wouldn’t be, would I? I’m trying very hard to remember what I could do a mere forty-two months ago that I can’t do now and the only thing I can come up with is the ability to remember what I was doing forty-two months ago.
What I am able to do with alarming frequency is to stumble across internet stories that predict my all-to-imminent decline and demise. Seconds after reeling away from the realisation that whatever my brain was once-upon-a-time good for, it no longer is, I stumbled onto this little beauty in which scientists seek to relieve the anxieties of the ageing by revealing that they are close to discovering why people suddenly become frail at the age of seventy. This is six and a half years away (I cannot work that out in months without a calculator, and I’ve no idea where I’ve put it). Less than the delivery time on the average SCS sofa.
And now I discover that, at sixty three, I should actually be long dead – although I’m not entirely certain what, exactly, an Airedale is*? According to the Bible I’ve got six and a half good years left in me yet – although, if I’m honest, I don’t think the Bible actually says how good they will be. It just gives me three score years and ten to play with (although no idea of why that’s not three and a half score years) but no idea of how I would be best placed to employ them. I could really do with some kind of timetable for my life:
- 0-20 years – grow up
- 21-40 years – teach my children to grow up
- 41-60 years – teach my grandchildren to grow up
- 60+ years – grow up.
If I have less than seven years left, I have no intention of spending them like a ‘grown up’. I truly hope that my mind and body will not retreat fully into childhood, but I’d be very happy to recapture the spirit of ten-year-old me. He did not spend a single second worrying about ‘decline’. If I’m honest, ten-year-old me didn’t waste a lot of time fretting about the future at all, he just got on with today.
Of course, ten-year-old me didn’t have the internet, but I’m pretty sure that if he did, he’d have had the common sense to ignore it.
*It’s a dog apparently, so I guess that means that I’m ok for a while yet, although by my calculations – I found the calculator in the fridge – if I was a dog, I would actually be 441 years old and therefore far less keen on ‘walkies’.
N.B. as I write this, two and a half years down the line, a growing sense of some sort of natural immunity and here I am with Covid. My wife succumbed three days ago and since that time we have lived in face-masked isolation, swabbing down and disinfecting for all our worth. Oddly, my symptoms are completely different to hers: is this a different strain or merely a different reaction to the same one? I have no idea, but rest assured everyone, unlike 5G masts** I don’t believe there has ever been a case of Covid being caught from WordPress. Please read on – normal service will continue. As much as it ever did…
**Yes, this is a joke. I have not gone completely mad!