Wednesday, 13 July 2016


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.)   


Philip Crawley said...

Awareness of your own mortality does seem to creep into your thoughts more often as you grow older. Just thinking the other day how I have less of my life ahead of me than there is behind me, in the past. Maybe that's why (some of us, and we know who we are) have hung onto treasures from our childhood or have replaced, or continually endeavour to re-aquire, the ones we have lost along the way - in an effort to hang onto some of that part of our lives that is fast receding in the rear view mirror as we journey through life in a car with no reverse gear. I think I try to counter the aging effect, and justify my collection, with the philosphy that we have no choice in the matter of
growing old but we do not have to 'grow up', whatever that means. Different things to different people I guess, though many seem to thing that this seems to entail cutting all ties with childhood. Why? Much as I enjoy adult life there was that unbridled sense of wonder and enthusiasm in regard to the world around us as children that was so much fun. Partly recaptured in artifacts from those years. I think life is too short to live it by being the person that a certain element of society would rather have you be; like what you like and be who you really want to be, within reason of course and as long as you don't bother anyone else in the process, needless to say. I don't know if I am going to be here for a long time (hope so!!), but while I'm here I am intent on having a good time!

Colin Jones said...

When I was 22 my sister died aged 19 so any delusions that I was immortal were shattered forever and I knew that death could be waiting round any corner. Now aged 50 I appreciate every extra day I'm given - like the song says: "Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus, tomorrow may never be mine, so for my sake, teach me to take one day at a time".

Kid said...

That's very profound, PC - it should be a blog post in itself. When I acquire a replacement for something I owned in the past, it makes the period it represents seem not so far away, allowing me to delude myself that I still have ages left ahead of me.


CJ, I'm astounded - a religious allusion from you and not a bit of criticism of it in sight. You must be mellowing in your old age, you ol' 50 year-old you. It's a good idea to take one day at a time, mostly because there's really no other way to take them.

paul Mcscotty said...

Life is to be lived and enjoyed - certainly we should all have fun looking back (that is in itself a joy in living) but we should never stop moving and looking forward with our lives not to do that would be a waste and you never know what or who is around the corner (although in reality it is probably incontinence and a heart attack)

I'm still in shock that Colin quoted that song

Kid said...

Incontinence and a heart attack? That just leaves me the heart attack then, PM.

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