Looking back on our lives
PEOPLE AND RELATIONSHIPS
Yesterday we were joined by a very old friend. Although we last met eight years ago, he has been a friend of B.'s ever since they both grew up in Rhodesia, and was around when B. and I met fifty years ago. So what, I wonder , has changed over this fleeting half a century? Quite a lot it would seem, and yet again, not a thing.
I listen to voices ardently discussing politics. Exactly the same timbre, same earnestness , same conviction. We are all ideologically who we were half a century ago. Except that where once we had hoped to change things , that old sense of optimism has been whittled away.
We can no longer change the world, so talk moves on. We swap news of friends and families. We learn of present day Zimbabwe where education is costly but much prized , and where payments are rarely made in cash. We hear about a sister who lives far away who has had a replacement hip, and is feeling her age. But no...this cannot be! This sister is barely thirty years old. I can see her now dressed in hippy garb, and offering us a hand rolled cigarette in a dingy London tenement flat. Ah me, I suddenly tell myself, life stands still for none of us.
The thing about growing old is that deep inside one remains the same person, as our encounter with our old friend confirmed. We are formed in our youth, and despite subsequent experiences , little essentially changes. It is hard to believe that we have grown old.
In my novel 'Because You Were There,' one of my protagonists is Felicity, an elderly widow. She has just met John, a figure from her past and suspects that she is attracted to him in spite of his age.
'John had discarded his original tweedy look and was dressed in a denim shirt and red corduroy slacks, unlike his other neighbours in their dowdy jackets and ties. With his thick dark hair, and warm brown eyes, she thought that, for an older man, he looked quite fanciable. But then she remembered that she, of course, was older too.
Perhaps we are only as old as we feel. Age is indeed subjective.