The joys of ageing

Eyes that see shall never grow old

Eyes that see shall never grow old

I’ve been an OAP for a week. So far I’m enjoying it.

About fifteen years ago I attended a scientific meeting in London. We were put up in student accommodation at the London Hospital (Whitechapel). It was dreadful. After one night I thought I’m a forty(ish) year old Professor of Anatomy and I don’t need places like this in my life, so I hoofed off to one of the West End hotels for the next two nights.

Did I have notions of grandeur? Maybe. In any case it was a recognition that my life was probably half gone and that slumming it in grotty student accommodation was no longer desirable or necessary (I earned a lot more than I do now). I’ve never been that keen on hardship: my definition of slumming it is running out of ice cubes.

About five years ago I decided that I would never again be in a hurry. I start things earlier, I get things ready the night before, to avoid Where are the sermon notes? orders of service? …. I don’t clog up my diary unless I absolutely have to.

I like to arrive at airports at least two hours in advance, more for US. Speaking of which, I resolved not to have to get up early for flights—4 am reveille for 7 am flight, that sort of thing. But with dearly beloveds in Dublin, needs occasionally must. The return flights, if early, can be a real problem if one has partaken immoderately of Arthur’s nectar the evening before: “three’s enough, don’t you think? Oh, all right then.”

Eating habits have changed. I won’t begin an evening meal after 7.30 pm. I sleep terribly if I do. I have learnt over the years to avoid wheat (not gluten – wheat), for it makes me feel bloated and I sleep badly. I have learnt to cast lingering avaricious glances at Fish and Chip shops, rather than to enter, for similar reasons (sometimes I yield). Milk is snot-inducing poison.

I need a magnifying glass for reading books. I can’t hear people unless I can see their mouths. I tell them not to talk to my back, but they ignore me. Maybe they have the same problem.

As we age, we have to come to terms with changing mechanics and metabolism. I’m very fortunate that I don’t have more to worry about. I once said that I aimed to immature with age. And I enjoy not caring so much about any thing. I care only about people.

In my last parish I had an 85-year-old parishioner who, when asked how she was, said ‘well, Rector, I was able to pull up my knickers this morning, so I’m grand.’

There is nothing more to be said.

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