it seems normal to think about the past, the present and what future remains when you have a zero birthday. I felt mainly sorry for myself when I turned 80 in 2020 during a pandemic lockdown as it meant no family dinner in our place or in the home of one of my chidren. A friend turned 90 later in the year and she had planned to return to her homeland for a big celebration. She cancelled her plane tickets with much regret and ended up with a Zoom call to her family and a lunch with Canadian members. Then this year, my husband and I reached a marriage milestone. In January when we had been married for 60 years. Once again covid restrictions preveted the restaurant family dinner we hd planned. A take out meal is just not the same.
I wonder why these zero milestones are more importan than the others. After all I will soon be 81 if everythiing goes as it should. Isn’t that more significant than being 80? After all it means I have survived covid 19 and any random traffic accident for for another year. I recently saw a TV program where the concept of aging and time left on earth was well ones illustrated. A woman held up a pre measured length of rope and asked a guy to cut off the rope at his present age. She pointed out that men lived for an average of 78 years in his country and then held up the remaining small piece of rope. It was a vivd example of how long he might live. Of course there are people who live longer than any national average. My husband often checks the ages of people mentioned in the newspaper obitiuary pages and I hear him say that than some are much younger than his present 84 years and some are much older. I am not quite sure why these comparisons are importat to him.
If you are in reasonable health and life is pleasant and not a burden then an you want to live as long as possible. Another friend was determined to reach 100 and he did achieve that goal. I had been to other birthdays of his but the pandemic got in the way of that particular celebration. My mother lived to be 97 and for almost all that time she was healthy enough to enjoy her age. Then she became ill and the last months were not pleasant. She was ready to die. As was another friend who was shut up in a nursing home last year. She had seemed ikely to turn 100 in September but loneliness and inactivity drained her will to live. And one of the problems in reaching genuine old age is that so many people have died before you. My mother at 97 had outlived a husband, daughter, other relatives and many friends, She got to the point where she didn’t want to attend funerals.
I sound very gloomy here. Maybe it is because I could not sleep well last night and got up at 5 a.m. to drink tea and write this blog. Maybe it is because I am tired of being isolated and not able to see my family in a nomral life. Maybe it is because I am growing old and cranky. Perhap it is a combination of all those factors and I should finish my tea which is cold and try for a little mor sleep. Of just stay up and read the Saturday newspaper. Choices. Chooices.
Next week I promise to be cheerful. Or at least more cheerful.