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Milestones…

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.

Who knew?

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.”

“What?”

“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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43 thoughts on “Milestones…”

  1. Congratulations Dom and Nikki on 25 years of marriage! I agree that many times people don’t live in the moment, and everything is about what will happen next. Big fan of the blog!

    1. Congrats with your 25th years of marriage! I really loved the blog. It’s weird to read about getting old so fast, because I’m only 16. But it reminds me that I have to enjoy the little, good moments of life!

    2. Congratulations on both your anniversary and the 21st birthdays of your twin sons. I find writing absolutely amazing, and am inspired by your example. May you and your wonderful family continue to be blessed with good fortune in everything they do and achieve.

    3. It was a theme of mine in my Edinburgh show – The Glory Year – a mantra that I have to constantly remind myself of. Glad you enjoy le blog (that’s French btw)

  2. Time is running away, it is scary in a way. Would be nice to make it stop once in a while and catch up on things… Instant transportation to help with avoiding travelling time in order to make time for other things… Not all of us use our time wisely, most of us never learn really. No matter what is happening time isn’t waiting for you and sometimes months gone by before you know it. Also Xmas February, St Patrick’s day then Easter then Brighton festival then…. Each month there is something to mark the calendar and it happens every year… We don’t want to regret things and yet we are bound to… Things don’t usually go according to plan…so much to think about the future and get organized yet there is time… Time and money though… Is there enough?

    1. Love the thoughts today Dom. It’s true that life happens all too fast these days and in the blink of an eye, we are middle aged (still can’t believe it) I’m lucky in that I work with children and they definitely keep me young – if only in spirit, and it gives me an excuse to have some fun and enjoy their enthusiasm for life. There’s a quote “if you don’t grow up by 50 you don’t have to”. This is one of my mottos/excuse for not growing old if I can help it – for the moment at least. Take time to smell the roses. Congratulations to Sam and Harry on their 21st birthday. I wish them love, luck and much happiness in the years ahead.

    2. Wow. You having the same age of my mother, you and Nikki being married the same year of my parents and you having four children (+ a dog) like us, it’s pretty a funny coincidence.
      Time flies and sometimes seems to do it really fast. I’m only in my early 20s, but I can say that I’ve always tried to live the moment, to enjoy every single second of my life – still the future pops up now and then. How not? Even if I love the job I’m currently doing, I have to chose what to do next – this autumn, precisely – I have to decide if study or go on. The fact is that there isn’t only what we want to do, what we would like to do, but also limits. I’ve always studied, worked and did sport that I liked, never stucked myself in the wrong situation for me – but limits are getting more and more growing.
      My first obstacle is epilepsy – even if I live it in pretty good way and do not let it block me, I have to take it in consideration when deciding what to do.
      Not to mention economic reasons, very bad but also inevitable.
      The point is we can’t know what’s going to happen and we can only suppose that the choices we do are the right one, so there’s just one thing we can do. Go on, trying our best to be happy, to be fine, and create our world.
      Not easy but possible.

      Till now I’ve always smiled to life and to the world, even when the moment wasn’t good, because there is always a way to make things work – sometimes may occur help, but cannot consider it a bad point.

  3. I’m 48 with an almost 17 year old daughter so am doing my bit to increase the average age of your reader!
    Friends and I had a similar conversation about how as busy adults with children, it can feel sometimes like a duty to travel a long way to visit our parents at Christmas. We were both then struck with the simultaneous realisation that our kids would soon be feeling the same way! They already prefer to spend time with their friends than with their parents are rightly so – but it’s a sobering thought.

  4. I agree with your words. Everyone should live in the moment, appreciate every minute and enjoy what they have. Spontaneous things are the happiest.
    P.s. I wanna do “The Fruit Bowl”

  5. Where your gigs in the Midlands corporate shows? If you have anymore shows coming up in Midlands I would love to know about them and hopefully I can make it to one soon. I loved what they did with the fruit… it made me smile, what a nice way to start your day.

    1. I mean to post gigs on my site – but never get round to it. Apologies. Do a “book a show near you” – you fill the room and I will make everyone laugh – promise!

  6. Well, young man, as a 61 year old reader of your blog I can say that you have achieved all the important things in life. Beautiful wife, four great kids, a well behaved dog, a job you love and yet you still show humility. Well done and may your juicer never fail.

  7. What an awesome blog. It’s funny you wrote this blog, I was having a conversation with my husband about something similar. I just had a birthday yesterday and I am nearing the end of my 30’s and so is he. We, from time to time reminisce about the first time we met. We have been together for only 17 years, but we do look forward to the future and all the milestones that come with it.

  8. I am a 42-year-old reader with a young appearance. I say this because I often need to get a document to prove that I am 42 years old, I am still single, never married and without children, still in great health, I care a lot for the family and we must enjoy life consciously and without harming others, yes life goes by very fast it seems like it was yesterday that I was 20 years old. Thank you for thinking and reflecting, and when it is true love you remain and face every situation, whether it is good or bad and Mrs. Nikki got it right, Congratulations and best wishes and Grandpa Bob is very cute ♥️

  9. Just like “My City limits…”, I thoroughly enjoyed this weeks blog.. So easily relatable. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I’ve fallen victim to the ‘if ‘ & ‘when’ throughout my life. And whenever it’s my time to pop off, if I know it’s coming. I’m sure I will have plenty of regrets. Praying for a quickie :)….

    When you and Nikki have grandchildren around the table early in the morning, I’d wager you’ll be making the fruit plates just as amusing. Either because you need to get them to eat fruit anyway you can, or you’ll remember your parents-in-law and/or this blog. The smile you create with bananas, grapes, and other mixed fruit will match the smile on your face. Just think – four sons have 4 little Holland’s each.. 16 smiling fruit plates to make every morning during their ‘sleepovers’ with the grandparents.. Cheers

    1. ❤️ I cried so happy, imagine the grandchildren of Mr. Dom and Ms. Nikki are going to be adorable, wow 16 grandchildren God bless the belly of future mothers, God continue to bless the family ❤️

      1. “You know you’re a grandparent when you laugh when your grandkids do the same things that made you so angry when your kids did them.” – author unknown

  10. Loved the blog as usual! Well I’m tad older than you by 6 years! My motto is live each day as if it were your last because you just never know. My dad left for deer hunting when I was 7, and an excited 16 year old boy hunting for the first time shot at noise and killed my dad instantly! What has always bothered my mom to this day is, she doesn’t remember if she told him she loved him before he left! I try really hard to never forget to tell my husband how much I love and treasure him every day! As we get older the pains of age start to creep in on us. I have the worst luck on ice!! Last year I broke my foot which resulted in a mid foot fusion—surgery number 2 in May!! This year over the holiday I slipped again on ice and broke my elbow!! Thankfully just need therapy to get my arm to straighten again! My family thinks I need to be wrapped in bubble wrap when venturing outside during the winter!!

    Happy 21st Birthday to Sam and Harry!! May the year bring much love and happiness!

    Wonderful news about the book! Just about finished rereading Open Links! Amazing and heartfelt story!! Looking forward to purchasing ‘The Fruit Bowl’ when it becomes available!!

    1. Hi Pamela – what a shock that must have been for you and your mum – still is, no doubt. How sad but I hope you’ve all adjusted accordingly as I’m sure your dad would have wanted.
      Onwards as I like to say!

  11. When I saw your various family members posting messages on Instagram about your boys’ 21st, I had a feeling a blog post was imminent. I have to say, not only was I not disappointed, hahah, but it actually had me somewhere between laughing and getting choked up. This post hit closer to home for me than any others that you’ve written.

    My husband and I just turned 50 this past fall, and our eldest will be turning 21 in October. Our other two are 18 and 14. And yet, I vividly remember being 14, and 18, and 21 myself, all of which were significant ages – moving up to high school, then to college, and of course hitting the legal drinking age, because of course I never touched a drop before then. *cough cough* It’s like the Sandra Cisneros short story “Eleven,” where the protagonist describes how no matter what age you turn, all of the other ages you’ve been are still inside of you like the layers of an onion.

    I often do what you described, realizing every so often that I’m now the age that my mom was when -insert significant point in life-. It was a few years ago that I pointed out to my husband that I was, at that moment, the same age that my mom had been at our wedding.

    Now, as my husband and I are watching our children grow up, we’re also watching our parents slow down and, as you mentioned, deal with the realities of aging. What makes it harder is that we live over 3-4 hours from both sets of our parents, so every time we visit it’s a little worse than the time a few months earlier.

    The two that have hit hardest have been, first, my mother-in-law, who just last summer had to ask me to remind her what our son’s name was – she asked him first, but he was so surprised and unsure how to react, he pretended he didn’t hear her, and she moved over to ask me.

    And second, my dad, who will turn 80 in a few months and who, for the past couple of years, has been dealing with constant spinal pain from herniated discs, arthritis, and compression. They’ve recently resorted to acupuncture because nothing else has worked. This is a man who, at the age of 16, participated in what turned out to be a very brief and unsuccessful revolution to fight back the foreign military who was overtaking his city (it was Budapest, 1956); and then escaped Hungary to come to the US and start a new life. He never went back, and he spent his life working harder than anyone I’ve ever met. He was a classic workaholic, and it’s not easy to see him unable to get up and do all of the things he still wants to do.

    It’s all made me examine my own life and decisions more closely, and I’ve made some changes to try to keep myself as active and healthy as possible for as long as possible. If nothing else, I’d love for my children to not have to worry about me for a very long time.

    I’ll end this very long reply with some of the final lyrics to the song “Time Stand Still” by Rush. If you’ve never heard it, I highly recommend looking it up; the drummer, Neil Peart, who wrote the lyrics to the songs on all of their albums except the first one, just passed away a few weeks ago:

    “I’m not looking back,
    But I want to look around me now,
    See more of the people
    And the places that surround me now…
    Summer’s going fast,
    Nights growing colder,
    Children growing up,
    Old friends growing older.
    Freeze this moment
    A little bit longer,
    Make each sensation
    A little bit stronger.”

  12. Milestones are wonderous things. They enable us to stop the clock, if only for moment, and take stock of what has been. Sometimes it’s an opportunity to correct course a bit, but other times its an opportunity to appreciate life well lived thus far. We all have regrets in life, for the paths not taken or the mistakes we’ve made. Generally though, when we stop and look back with some perspective, we are able to put those regrets in perspective and realize where we are at today is pretty darn good. Milestones are good…stop and look back for a moment, then move forward with renewed joy in today, in this moment.

  13. Another 50+ reader here … I think your demographic is older than you think!
    The routines of your in-laws made me smile, as I recall my late parent’s quirks very fondly. I just hope that my quirks, that currently irritate (or mainly embarrass) my 13 and 9 year old girls, will be remembered as kindly.
    Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday Sam and Harry.

  14. Great Blog again! Congrats on 25 years. Time does go in a blink of an eye and we need to learn to look out rather than down and through our phones before we miss it all.

  15. That was a sobering post, but, like most sobering things, good for reflection. Thanks. And congrats on the anniversaries in your house!

  16. I just read your post. Then I read everyone’s comments. Then I read your post again. My heart is full. I have so much I want to say. But since you don’t know me, it won’t mean much to you. So let me just say this: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you have a great day and enjoy the next 50 plus happy years with your family.

  17. Hello, I know I’m late
    Congratulations for the 25 years (soon 26)
    And wow, I didn’t expect that you had so many older readers. That’s really amazing, we are more readers every day
    And OMG 16 grandchildren, I can’t imagine that I enjoyed the comments !!

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