One of life’s great perils is living for tomorrow. Something that most of us would do well to be vigilant of and to make any necessary adjustments to avoid.
You will recognise the thinking I have in mind.
"When this happens, then everything will be…"
"If I can get this over with…"
In this context, ‘if’ and ‘when’ can be costly words - because if unchecked, our lives will flash by all too quickly and something we will realise too late.
People then who can live in the moment are at a great advantage. I don’t mean the hedonists who spend themselves in to debt – but the people who are able to enjoy the daily moments that come their way.
At 52 years of age I am well and truly middle aged and I suspect much older than the average reader of this blog; many of whom cannot ever imagine themselves at such a ripe age themselves.
Warning: it’s coming and quickly. And much quicker than you're ready for.
I started my working life in my very early twenties as a food starch salesman. Yes, you read that correctly. I sold starch for a living and yet, somehow Nikki saw enough in me to stick around. Playing the long game or even a very long game.
At the time, I recall that my first boss was 42 years old and I vividly recall feeling almost sorry for the old boy.
And now here I am – somehow a full decade on from this age - with a wife, four kids and a dog.
A few life recent milestones to gild my sense of reflection. 25th wedding anniversary last year and this week, the 21st birthday of our second born – Sam and Harry.
Last week, doing a couple of club gigs in the midlands, I took the chance to stay over at Nikki’s parents, Tina and Bob. Now in their mid 80’s and with all the associated physical and mental impairments of their age – I reflected on the fact that when I first met Mr and Mrs Frost, they were the age that I am now.
Which is a sobering thought.
It means that if I am lucky enough to have this many years again – then I can expect to be deaf, forgetful and not very good at telling stories – and therefore, given my line of work, definitely retired I imagine.
In their spare bedroom, on the bedside cabinet is a framed photo that makes me smile. I study it and I try to recall the occasion. There are some clues. I have much more hair – and its darker too, so I reason, at least a decade ago. Nikki looks great and I think of that ‘long game’ again and I wonder whether it has paid off for her. If I was more confident, I might ask.
The next morning, I am up later than my parents-in-law who are already super busy downstairs preparing breakfast. And by the sounds of things, it's a major occasion.
“Put your hearing aid in.”
“Your hearing aid. Put in in.”
“It is in.”
“Well turn it up then.”
Health issues are inevitable of course. Even the super fit who abstain from all vices cannot dodge everything forever and will eventually be caught out.
But as I see my in-laws and their early morning ceremony play out before me, I wonder if their future is mine. Is their behaviour peculiar to them or is it more generic and something that I will grow in to?
For instance, setting the table for breakfast with place mats, different sized plates and an array of cutlery to choose from. As a family, we sit down for a meal each evening but breakfast is always off the hoof. Eating whilst achieving is the name of the game in our house; namely looking for things that we will need for the day ahead. 'Where's the charger? There was a charger here last night. I specifically put it here...'
The use of a tea pot is another peculiarity that seems to afflict older people and is most likely to save on the number of tea bags required.
Not so in my own household. Or not yet anyway? I might not appear on telly anymore, but I am still good for as much tea as anyone can drink and everyone gets their own bag.
Speaking of tea – granddad Bob has a legendary sweet tooth – which is an apt expression since he only has one tooth left now – the rest having dissolved over the years.
Fruit tends to feature prominently in any breakfast worth its salt – and it certainly does in my in-laws.
And mine too.
I make a fresh juice most mornings – which I call The Fruit Bowl – and which inspired my third novel (which I have just completed rewriting and it will be re-published imminently as a print book).
And although I expect that fruit will remain a part of my breakfast until I eventually pop off – I hope that I will never grow in to a phase of life when I do to fruit what is done by my lovely in-laws.
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