The Debs, that student dinner dance in Leaving Cert year, was the first in a series of milestone events. Then came the 21sts. And the graduations. Followed by the engagement parties and the weddings. Then the christenings and the communions and the confirmations. Then the fortieths, and the fiftieths, and the sixtieths. Then the next-generation weddings. Then the anniversaries. And then the funerals.
There’s nothing like someone your own age moving on to put a halt to your gallop and make you think about where you’re at and where you’re going.
An old school friend wrote this a few years back. A classic like himself, it has stood the test of time. For some context, he wrote it shortly after our 30-year school reunion.
Grow old gracefully…
or be dragged there kicking and screaming by the hind leg…
that is the choice we all have to make.
Now, I think age, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, to a 90-year old I am 17 and to a 17-year-old I am 90.
God knows I am not one to jump in front of a camera, I hate the bloody things and if you are hoping someday to see a ” selfie” of me as my profile pic, you will be waiting. We all know the camera never lies and to me, I looked every day the 48-year-old minus 2 months that I am, and I wonder where the years disappeared too, where I am in life and where I am going.
Maybe, I am at that mid-life crisis point in my life that men of my age often find themselves. I could buy a Harley, grow a goatee, and buzz around the roads but that ain’t me. Or I could chase a blonde, with legs up to her tonsils but I know where that would end. Chasing!
To be honest, after looking inwardly, I am a little disappointed in myself. While speaking to people on 9/11 and interacting on Facebook, I have been amazed by the amount of people who are still upskilling, recently qualified, doing final exams, completing their Masters, in college, going back to college, etc, and all the while running a home and rearing families. I swear to God some of you must meet yourselves coming back you lead such full lives.
I, on the other hand, I find myself falling from Friday to Friday, Weds to Weds, etc., being the dutiful husband and dad dropping and picking and everything else that goes with being a family man. So, to my anger, I realise I am in the “growing old gracefully” mode.
To my eternal gratitude to 9/11, I think it has woken me out of that slumber and it is time Pat grabbed life by the ” liathróidí ” took some time out for himself and started challenging himself again. It will not be easy but hey, if it was, everybody would be doing it. To this end, I have a little plan but all will be revealed in the fullness ……
For a while now myself and the lads have been planning a parachute jump for our 50th year and to me whose main phobia is a fear of heights, it has me rattled.
I now look forward to it with renewed vigour.
I might even jump out and let the parachutist catch up on me even though he would need to be a big old boy to gain ground on me. ha!
Why not join us?
I can’t remember if they ever did the parachute jump. And truth be told, it doesn’t much matter. The thought was there. Midlife crisis or not, wasn’t it Socrates who said ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’?
When I’m in danger of falling from Friday to Friday or Wednesday to Wednesday, I pull this one out and give it a read. It’s the kick in the proverbial I need. I’m all for grace and gracefulness, but I’m not ready for that quite yet.
I’m going to miss PB’s philosophising.
PS Featured photo was one he sent me when he heard I was looking for a photo of a poppy field