Friday, 11 January 2013


There's a time in every young person's life when they assume,
without ever really thinking about it, that they're not only invincible
but also immortal.  Usually it's around the teenage years and early 20s
when we labour under this delusion, and I have to confess that I was no
exception.  When we're young, we think we're going to be young forever,
and old age and death seem so distant as to be unimaginable.  Then one
day we wake up and realise that, not only are we 'over the hill', we're also
actually halfway down the other side and somebody has cut the brakes.
What's more, we don't even recall getting to the top of that hill to
begin with.  Shouldn't we at least remember the view?

When we're young the world is ours for the taking, and every-
thing seems geared towards us and runs in perfect synchronicity with
the pace of our lives.  Then, one day, it dawns on us that we're no longer
participants in life's race, but merely observers, sitting on the sidelines,
watching younger people revelling in a world that appears to have been
created exclusively for them.  How one can be relegated to the benches
without being aware of when it happened is a bit of a mystery, but
trust me, that's the way things go.

Now, believe me when I say that I'm not the kind of person who
revels in anyone's death, but I sometimes wonder if younger people's
untimely expiration is Nature's way of reassuring us 'oldies' that being
young isn't necessarily an indication of being accorded favoured status,
and that, young or old, we're all equally subject to termination at short
(or even no) notice.  If being 20 is no guarantee we'll reach 50, then per-
haps 50-year-olds shouldn't feel so threatened by the passage of time
as they do.  Life's a lottery and our numbers can come up at any mo-.
ment.  Not quite a 'lucky dip' - but you get the point, I'm sure.

I feel that I should somehow find the above notion reassuring,
but for some reason I remain unconvinced.  How about you?


Harvest Gate

I lingered by a gate a little while
and watched some children play in fields of green.
Their joyous voices gave me cause to smile
and filled my troubled soul with thoughts serene.

If only I could once again be young
and join them in their happy escapades,
then all my years would be a song well-sung
and I could claim I've lived my life in spades.

I leave the gate - alas, my mood turns low,
the chills of age envelop my frail frame.
I know I have not very long to go
'til he who wields the sickle calls my name.

But I have lived and loved, both lost and won
and now the course of my life's race is run.

(Harvest Gate by Iain Osborne.)   


TwoHeadedBoy said...

Well that's a cheerful start to the day...

I'm currently at that terrifying phase when 30's rapidly approaching and nothing's changed since I was 20 - and now I'm anticipating that every decade will be just as quick and pointless as this one.

Kid said...

You know me - keep 'em laughing, that's my motto.

moonmando said...

To be honest Kid,i`m perfectly happy being an observer.I really would hate to be one of the young team nowadays.The present for me is perfectly fine,apart from the usual physical discomforts that maturity brings.Nostalgia and reminiscence are the perfect antidote to this and are the one thing the young can only aspire to.

Kid said...

I'd love the energy and optimism of youth, and the wisdom of maturity - to me, that's the perfect package. Unfortunately, they seem to be mutually exclusive.

Dougie said...

I'd agree that they are mutually exclusive. Case in point: one of my boys, who's nearly 17, asked me yesterday what sentence you might get for having a party in a stranger's house and breaking some windows. If one of your mates had a key- surely it would just be community service?

Naturally,my spider-sense told me this had obviously already happened. My second thought was he might be at the wind-up but we'll see what happens on Monday...

There is nothing like working in a school to make you realise your mindset is truly middle-aged. You see them come in as shrimpy wee things, burbling about their dog or seeing ghosts. Seemingly only days later, they leave as shambling, hairy hulks, hell-bent on vodka and weed.

Kid said...

Seems to me, Dougie, that you're ideally suited to observe both the best and the worst of human nature in your job. Is that a plus or a minus, and does the satisfaction outweigh the despair?

Dougie said...

It's often hilarious but sometimes it is sad, especially when you can anticipate how deprivation will have an impact on the wee yins. And there is deprivation, while the Moravians holidaying in Dubai might be able to overlook it.

The desperado who told me about the "house party" - where, allegedly an over-18 yr old was in attendance, to my relief- came up at the end of the day to get a practice paper for the Prelim. A mature and wise decision or a piece of theatre for me and senior management? I habitually see both possibilities.

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