My friend, Walter and I are at similar times in our lives
Although the calendar, various infirmities, failing senses and a panolpy of wrinkles underscore the depressing fact that my writer friend, Walter, is in his eightieth year, soon to be an...octogenarian, perish the word.
Of course, people have been reminding him for many a moon that the sands were running swiftly through the hour glass and claiming the sobriquet "spring chicken" was not for him as much as 30 years previously.
But it never bothered Walt before. Cuadragenerian, (40-49) were wonderful years where everything still funcioned, he ruminates; the young(ish) ladies were still interested. He remained strong as the proverbial lion; could drink or fornicate all night and do it again tomorrow, write daily and never miss a deadline.
Same for the fifties as he became an unworried quinquagenerian; on through the sixties, a sexagenerian. But when he hit 70 and joined the creaking ranks of the septuagenerians, he was at least starting to realize he was late in the game and there was much more living behind him than could ever be ahead.
Walt claims he still held up his end, (ahem); and had stopped drinking some years ago; never smoked; walked a lot until fate intervened: He contacted a nasty urinary tract infection in early 2017, causing some mental confusion and a fall. This meant 5 weeks in hospital and three months rehab.
That just about brings this senior citizen up to date. Yes, much nicer to be a senior citizen in the USA, Walt smiles, than described as an old man, an OAP, (old age pensioner), or even the cold, older person, or worse, older adult in ageist Britain. Not to mention the behind-your-back slang, "old git," "old fart," and many more, such as the awful "wrinkly," or "cotton-bud" applied to ageing ladies.
Unless we are one of those genetic marvels that seems to go on and on up to their one-hundreth birthday and more, like my uncle, Billy, who finally called it quits at 101; captained Kings College rugby team until he was 44 and travelled the world until his nineties. What a lottery life is, Billy's younger brother, Bobby, blown up in his Spitfire aged 23 in WW2.
But that's not Walt who is an on again, off again, diabetic 2, a fight to beat the deadly elevated blood sugar. Live like a monk - no diabetes, live like a normal human, pills or insulin, and, as the lady in the window in Amsterdam ruefully complained, "Pricks all night!" Mine are just in the fingers, thank goodness, laughs Walter!
He also fought high blood pressure since 1984; needs hearing aids, another cataract op. IBS, ED, arthritis and a skin like a crocodile.
He still chases younger women Are you calling me a womaniser, he snarls? Hell, yes! and who wants a girlfriend his age!?
I can't but agree, old age does close many doors: All those things you promised yourself you would do one day? Too late, you won't have a yacht and sail around the world; the porsche you have yearned for is too small, not to mention unaffordable; I'll stick to the Honda CR-V, it will - as the British woefully comment, usually about their shoes, "These will see me out." Walt has a Dacia and likes the economy and to hell with badge status!
Like my friend, I shan't be married again, a state I had always wanted to make a success of, after several failed attempts, and a better dad this time. Sadly, it may mean being alone until the final curtain, although there are couple off female friends; my dear Susie passed away last April.
I do have the budgies, of course! Walter has a cat.
Of course, the really wealthy are rarely alone, Howard Hughes is an exception. Anyone who says you can't buy a good facsimile of love is fooling you and themselves.
Britain and I believe, the USA to an extent has become a matriachal society. It's the older women who aspire towards, advertise for, and acompany younger men. It's female talking heads who anchor the TV channels, news programs and even traditionally male sports! Its the girls who go out on Friday night; vomit on the streets and lie around with everything showing until bundled into a car by friends or the police. Hey! That used to be our role! Can't say I miss it.
I am not sure I quite agree with the poet, Dylan Thomas, and the stirring words against accepting the march of Time in good grace...
"Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rage at the close of day
Rage, rage, rage against the dying of the light"
Walt has decided no eightieth birthday for this spry oldster, He is going to declare 78 this next birthday! Start rolling the years back again...and why not? I think that's a great idea!
Hubbers who know me well will see similarities in Walter and my state in life...who said there are no coincidences? (It was E.K-Ross)
Budding writers on HP, don't do as I do, do as I say, keep the first person singular OUT of your articles