On Turning 80
“ Oh Mom - Its your big Eight Oh ! We need to celebrate !” “ NO THANKS “ I have one reason to be thankful for the pandemic. It took care of that. I had arrived at 80, but I did nothing to help or hinder that occasion. From where I was sitting this looked like the down portion of the roller coaster - the one where you scream… really… really… loudly. There have been very few bullets I have had to dodge. As an infant in Scotland, my life was saved by a Canadian baby formula - Sister Laura’s… I wonder if I read the outside of the package in my infant state? Our city was never bombed, although my mother did drag us through to the north shore of the Clyde so she could watch the German bombers blowing up Clydebank… do you think she wanted rid of us ? In the intervening years I was cared for by the god who looks after children and drunks in that order.
Since then it's been Healthcare all the way. It rescued me from Chronic Asthma and years later from going Insane in a Psychiatric hospital - the previous remedy to immuno Therapy for my malady (a rare seizure disorder). Super efficient Orthopedic and Physiotherapy shot me back to normal when I cracked rather than broke my hip. ( that one used to be a death sentence). Aside from acquiring glasses - I’ve been good to go, muttering all the way “When I’m OLD I’ll need to do “- such and such - like purge my house , simplify my chaotic self-created Garden, hire snow removal and so on. Nagging bairns told me I was going deaf.. So Hearing Aids… Then I suspected my stentorian unwitnessed snoring might be an issue. Word on the emails ( no street anymore ) was CPAP. So now I sleep silently looking like an Elephant but only awakening x1 per night - ….aah.
Did I mention my mouth? Don’t forget that Scottish upbringing, munching our sweetie ration while riding the tram into town. This syndrome was aided by teenaged dentists who must have been found in the same sweet shop - great for removing vital molars ! There’s an entire city in there now - 2 bridges (or underpasses), a couple of townhouse complexes, a larder in case I get hungry and the highlight is the hi rise. The dentist here offered to add a lighthouse light for an extra $3K in case I got lost at night. I reluctantly declined this option.
So, if I ever do get around to a celebration - it will have to be a celebration of amazing 21st century Healthcare delivered almost free of charge in a benign and tranquil country of friendly folks. It is nothing I have done to arrive at Four Score. It is true we are as old as we feel. I think I have rocketed through many of the stages in all the wrong order. Speechless at the top of Burstall Pass I felt older than the 75 yr old who had shepherded me up and ever up the trail. I wasn’t yet 65. Health is an extraordinary matter of luck and genetics. So It isn’t Age we celebrate, it is Stage. Celebrate whichever stage is meaningful to you and celebrate daily. The numbers don’t mean a thing.