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Source: Adults

Author: Rhona Aitken

Title: The Here and Now

The Here and Now

Being a poet at heart I decided to write a poem on being old in years, young in mind, and decrepit in body - but my pen kept running away with me and saying forget rhyming ‘age’ with ‘rage’ and ‘hot toddy’ with ‘body’ and write - bluntly - what you feel when the clarity of the moment allows. Explain why the personal cloak of finality can have amazing advantages - but in prose! Less contrived.

One advantage to age is that I no longer have to read those well-meaning columns in my much-loved daily newspaper, which insist on telling me, in pompous terms, what I must eat . It seems I must never have more that one microscopic morsel of red meat a week or my insides will loop the loop. Fiddle-di-dee! Worst of all, and just to make sure I do not enjoy my old age I am told that if I drink more than a thimbleful of wine a day I will go green - or at least my liver will. All this makes me wonder how my many hearty octogenarian, not to mention ninety-to-a hundred year old hale and hearty friends are still up and if not running at least in pretty good shape, and I can assure you that we were all bought up on bread fried in deep bacon fat, suet puddings, bread and dripping, strong home-made cider, and roast or fried meat nearly every day of our lives. We had never heard of colesterol or calories, so we were a lot less stressed - and we are all still alive! Perhaps because we were so ’less stressed’. Think on it. Perhaps my liver has fallen into to a comfortable mode. Anyway , it copes with a glass of wine nearly every lunch and certainly another every supper, and I’m not going to upset its routine. What simple pleasure , and pleasure brings contentment and contentment is surely good for the heart, which is, without doubt, good for the spirits. My spirits are fine. Q.E.D.

Aches and pains come and go. Bad days are contained in the enjoyment of books, a few of the better T.V. programmes, talking to the family on the telephone, getting E-mails from grandchildren from far-flung places. Just recently, for the first time in twenty-five years, I started knitting again. Seeing something grow is very pleasurable, and I am determined to finish what I have started. (I am a very quick knitter!) One big benefit to age is that everyone expects you to be slow - so you can be.

My desk, for the first time ever, is up-to-date, neat and tidy. (There will be no reason for ’dear-oh-dear, what has mother been up to’ as they plough through all the years of rubbish) . Yet another benefit - I discovered a mountain of interesting letters and general ’stuff’ I didn’t know I had. I had hours of happy reading.

All the clothes I’ve bought over the years - and I’ve bought far too many - that have sat in the back of the wardrobe, have been pulled out, heaped up and plonked on the counter at Ox-fam. It is an ennobling feeling to get de-cluttered. Mind you, this sudden urge to clear everything extraneous hasn’t as yet stopped me seeing something horribly extravagant and utterly gorgeous and bringing it home in triumph as an - ahem - necessary replacement. Eighty four years of imperfection are not cured in an instant.

There is a growing urge to contact people you have had affection for in years gone by, but through the days and months you have let slide ( I must contact Linda tomorrow…..but you don’t). Now I am indulging in the long-forgotten pleasure of letter-writing.

Today is a lovely day. It is pouring with rain, the fridge isn’t exactly full of caviar - in fact it is somewhat empty, and I’ve run out of knitting wool. But - I’ve got a beautiful C.D. of Il Divo. Just looking at the cover cheers me up. This morning’s post brought me two letters that will need answering, and best of all I’ve just started the latest book from “The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency” series. Books of such charm that Alexander McCall Smith should be knighted on the spot. There should be a category for lovely people who bring great pleasure.

There are no plans to be made. If present body problems get worse there will be consequences I can do nought about. So why worry about it. Today is a good day. My glass is half full - not half empty. It is still raining. But when Il Divo has finished with its last burst of wonderful song - I’ve got a lovely Mozart Clarinet Concerto to follow, and a couple of chunky chocolate biscuits, not to mention a cup of Mme Ramotswe’s Red Bush Tea.

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