Monday, 14 September 2015
So here we are, almost back to normal. A bit thinner, a bit greyer, a bit chastened, a bit the worse for wear, but alive and thinking of making elderberry wine. Beloved and Millie, carefully and slowly, went down to the big elder tree in the field to check on this year’s berries and yes, there’s an abundant crop waiting to be picked. With lots left for the birds. Best get on with it then.
One lifetime is not enough. We spend the first years learning to pick ourselves up after a tumble, doing our sums and letters, making best friends today and pulling each other’s hair out the next. When we stop crying and running to mum because the world does not turn at our command new problems arise. We fall in love. First love is always painful. Exhilarating, exciting, deeply disturbing, and always painful. Once we get the hang of this strange emotion, and love follows love, we settle down. Sometimes just for a stretch, or sometimes for life. Now problems come in tiny packages which, by and by, grow larger, bringing bigger problems. This is the long and arduous period when we are wholly preoccupied with earning a crust, raising the next generation and looking after the previous one.
There’s little time to sit back and think who we are and what we might have been put on this earth for.
Then we reach sixty. It has taken us all this time to grow up, to see sense, to stop being foolish, to choose peace over the endless treadmill of duties, obligations, commitments; actually, sixty might be a little optimistic, many of us are still running on the hamster’s wheel well beyond sixty.
The first health niggles appear, joints are not as flexible as they once were and we become familiar with the doctor’s surgery; we are on first name terms with the receptionist, and the aches and pains we used to take to mum we now take to the practice nurse.
Soon enough we’re old, in second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.*
And before this happens is where I’d ask for another lifetime. Not to start again from the beginning. Certainly not. Have all that hassle over again? No thank you. But building on the experiences of a lifetime, having learned from mistakes and gained peace of mind and serenity in daily dealings, that’s what I want. No ailments, either; let them stay away. At a stroke short-termism would be done away with. We (and that includes politicians who only ever plan for the short period they find themselves in office) could finally get down to fulfilling our dreams; there’s time to achieve everything we once strove for, everything that got buried in busyness. We could lie in the grass on a summer’s night, look up to the stars, remember the early promises and make them come true. After all, there’s world enough and time, finally. ** And because we have done our duty and are done with it, we can do what we always wanted to do: Make A Difference.
*'The seven ages of man’ Shakespeare
** “To his coy mistress’ Andrew Marvell