19 Oct Another birthday … older and wiser?
Sadly, this is not necessarily so. At least not for me.
Last year I reached the magical age of sixty and can truthfully say I was happy to celebrate that milestone. Mind you, being on a cruise in the south Caribbean unquestionably softened the blow a tad! A year on and I’m starting to realise why they called this period of time in our lives, being that you could retire at sixty, ‘over the hill’. I’ve realised that I’m definitely getting older, as my joints remind me every day; however, unfortunately, I am also waning in both memory and wisdom. So, I’ve come to the conclusion these two factors are obviously connected. Sometimes the brain’s synapses are still snapping!
It’s the little things you notice first, and that does not include putting down things and then not remembering where you left them. Memory goes; I can live with that, and have done so for the last decade plus. My problem is thinking that, with my rapidly growing number of years on this earth, I would actually gain some insight into what was going on and be able to offer sage advice, on a full hodgepodge of subjects, at the drop of a hat. I believed people would flock to me while I waxed lyrically about this and that, and they would go away believing I was some kind of Goddess with the wisdom of Solomon. Once again, I was obviously in a bubble of disillusionment and very, very sadly mistaken. (Not only can you hear my big sigh, but you can visualise the shoulders drooping and the lips trembling, as tears threaten to leak from my paling eyes.)
So, why the flippin’ heck (and you really know what I want to say!) is there the saying ‘older and wiser’? Personally, I believe the person or persons who coined this phrase were taking the piss; leading the green horns, of which I am undoubtedly one, into trusting that you just miraculously became more astute as you matured. My fat arse it happens that way! I have found I am tending to slow down, in body, mind and spirit, and any foresight I actually had seems to have evaporate along with the thinning of my hair; or in P-i-C’s case, the actual hair itself! The weight of the extra pounds, the baggy, saggy skin and the mountains of wrinkles that have taken the place of prudence, have also dispelled any ideas that may once have been fruitful. Now they are fantasies once imagined; leaving me to be a rapidly diminished shell of the person I once was.
What I really want to know is … why are there so many characters, which I now know are obviously fabricated, that demonstrate with age comes wisdom? Think for a moment of the books you have read, the movies you have seen … even the books turned into movies. One of the main characters is often the older, wiser person. An example is Gandalf, in J R R Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. You really couldn’t get a more aged or shrewder person than him, unless you pitch him against Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books. He’s one incredibly judicious legend. Myself? I like to be fanciful and accept as truth I’d be like Minerva McGonagall, played by the sprightly and eternal Maggie Smith. I’d be this dynamic, sagacious and pragmatic woman of the world, rather than this creature tapping away on her keyboard, hoping like hell someone will actually read what she says and think it essentially has some merit! One can dream! And I will, for as long as I can, until reality hits with a left hook Muhammad Ali would be proud to claim a winner.
The best I can hope for is that the grandchildren will still adoringly hang on every word I say for a few more years yet. The spawn of my loins stopped listening to me a lifetime ago, and probably for more reasons than I care to admit to. And the other major players in my life are even older than I am, so are rapidly in free-fall along with me. We’re lucky if we get to finish a sentence, let alone make any sense with it!
My conclusion is that Trump, for once, is correct. It is fake news. There is no such thing as becoming older and wiser; you just end up a little bitter and twisted before you eventually fall off the perch into the nothingness. We are no longer even thought of as antiques to be prized; more like over-used and tatty furniture that needs to be chucked on the verge for the ‘bring out your dead’ council collection. Happy days!
Are you ready to cancel your birthday celebration yet?