My birthday today. A big one. This last week I've been like a child awaiting Christmas.
Sixty. Three score years. Ten more to go before my time's up if tradition is anything to go by. The family genes hint that I may be around a bit longer than that but the reality that individual existence is finite and that it will vanish, dissolve into something with a different shape and form or without shape and form, ideally lends a heightened awareness and a freedom to each day. A lightening up. Which is as it should be. Throw what's left of one's allotted span into the air and see what shape it takes when it hits the ground.
- The blessed liberation from the hormonal merry go round, and a consequent level of calm and equilibrium (some of the time) .
- I can finally stop trying to get it right. If I haven't by now I never will and it doesn't matter. It being life.
- There are still yearnings: to belong, love in the widest sense and an end to loneliness. But you start where you are with what you have.
- Good health and fitness - the right rotator cuff excepted - are real, unexpected gifts. My body and I are finally on amicable terms. Weight has normalised. Clothes fit. I had huge food issues once so this is a big deal.
- Family: my sister, my cousin. Meeting up with the former in a few hours time.
- Friendships continue and a couple of new ones are forged. Others fall apart or fade away.
- Nearly bankrupt we may be but as of today the state throws a small monthly pension in my direction. Not enough to live on by itself, I'll need to work for a good while yet, but I'm thankful to have it. Plus free prescriptions for any medicine I might require and - best of all - free bus travel all over England. The downside: the identity photo on the bus pass is truly depressing.
- And there's more. As an OAP I can sign up for U3A, show up for the £3 afternoon Silver Screenings at the local cinema, get ten per cent off paintbrushes and spanners on Wednesdays at B&Q ...
- Engaged and humorous colleagues who do a great job in the community. And who threw a surprise lunchtime birthday bash on Friday.
- The cat. Of course. He's the feline equivalent of 86.
The sky pale blue, translucent after weeks of rain. The warmest day of the year so far according to the BBC. When I let the cat out just now the air was clear and heady, like a fine cool wine. Earth and grass damp. Breathe deeply.
Prana. Life force. The one constant
None of it matters.
All of it matters, every second and atom.
I wouldn't be twenty again for the world.