The thing about old age,,,

The thing about old age – as far as I’m concerned anyway – is that I made it! At 73 years of age anything else – whether poetic or philosophic – is utterly superfluous! This afternoon as I undertook to uplift myself from the sandy beach on which I had contentedly lain for thirty minutes, a passing women shouted, “Are you Okay?” Seemingly my struggle to secure a wobbly left knee sufficiently to balance my carcass had rendered the appearance of awkwardness.  I thought I had been doing quite well. My strategy for standing from the prone position is to contort myself on all fours, then knuckle my way upwards slowly. No doubt it is similar to preserving one’s balance on stilts.  Granted, not what you’d call an artistic tactic but one which I have mastered by repeated effort in my on-going sunbathing exploits.

Overnight, while I lay awake in bed, I ran a rapid film of my entire life. The critical “segments ” were easily identified, things like childhood in Washington DC, boarding school, undergraduate studies, law school, etc. In each of those spheres I recalled what proved to be curious highlights. The recollections were anomalous because they hadn’t anything substantive about my development. Childhood for example was the memory of a huge hornets nest attached to a lamp post. Articling at my first law firm was the image of a senior partner with bulging eyes standing at his desk consuming pharmaceuticals. My entire law practice in Almonte was summarized by the memory of R. A. Jamieson QC.  Clearly the mixed temper of reverie and sleep produced a state of delirium. The incoherence was however irrelevant to my overriding intention to put the past out of mind. That too is a blunt settlement. My lucidity now derives from an inflexible view of the present, by which I mean the immediate present not what I portend tomorrow or next year, but now. Knowing the swiftness of the passage of time – and the characterization of time as nothing more than what it means now – stimulates my blinkered focus.

I confess that the reason for tolerance of the cryptic summary of my life is that my parents are dead. If there were any identifiable repercussion of having been extracted from my family at an early age it is that I developed a strong urge for their approbation.  Now that they’re gone, that obsession is over. I say this with no regret whatsoever. I did my best for them; they lived long lives.  All is well.

Which brings me to the current state of affairs – my own old age.  In keeping with the summary assessment of things, I now willingly adopt the status.  And equally importantly I consider it beyond necessity to do anything other than embrace it.  I’ve already abstracted the highlights of my past.  The project now is to consume the present.