HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU HEARD PEOPLE SAY, “AGE IS JUST A NUMBER”…. OR, “OLD AGE IS ALL IN THE MIND”?

Invariably, these comments come from people much younger than we “senior citizens”…..from middle-aged or younger generations, mostly…. to bolster our waning confidence or health concerns, as the years pile up.

Well, no-one really appreciates what it’s like until they get there, but the “process of ageing” which our medicos are prone to quoting, often, is a very real thing.

But I like to quote an old mate, who presented a somewhat different version of events; he said “You know you’re heading for your last long sleep when your mind makes a promise that your body can’t keep”…….and he was – and is – 100% right!

My head often tells me I’m in the prime of my life, still (in my late 70s) – but my body doesn’t seem to listen to my mind the same now, when it’s called on to step up the pace or go that extra yard (in effort) on a project which I would have leaped into (and completed quickly) in the “good old days” we hear so much about.

Also, I’m not really so sure the “good old days” were quite as good as we recall. But of course perspectives can vary widely on that, depending on life’s fortunes and experiences before we reach the oft-disputed “process of ageing” years. Looking back over the past seven decades (+), I reckon those of us who reach this stage our precious “senior citizen” years) are the lucky ones.

Many people don’t make life’s journey this far. The rollercoaster ride (which life is, or can be) takes its toll of many, too early. For the lucky ones, the memories are pure gold.

For example, how many of today’s younger generations can genuinely claim to have lived through and appreciate the changes that we (of the “senior citizens brigade”) have encountered, in our lifetimes? The memories that we have garnished in our journeys, whatever else we may have missed out on, make the journey worthwhile.

To name just a few, firstly there is/was Australia’s gutsy transition out of The Great Depression of the 1930s, World War 2, and the Korean, Vietnam, and Afghanistan campaigns. The Depression/WW 2 era, in particular, had to be experienced to appreciate what Aussies can rise to and overcome, when it’s “crisis time”.

In transport, our memories cover the full gamut from the horse-and-buggy days to jet travel – and even space travel. And who could forget, for example, Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon – and seeing it all on TV, at home?

The tearing down of the Berlin wall – which most of us would not have visited, but saw regularly, on TV – had immense significance for people in free societies like ours.

Seeing our children and grandchildren born and spread their wings to become decent people and good parents and citizens….these are among the “top shelf “of memories.

We can marvel, still, at the magnificence of nature presented to us, every day of our long lives; being moved by a soul-touching piece of music – pure bliss; the laugh of a child or the awesome song or flight of a bird.

Ah yes ,warming memories indeed, and all these (and many more) we call on from our memory banks and relive, once more, in those times when the body doesn’t listen to the mind, quite as it used to. This is the reality of “growing old” for many of us, today ….and it will do me quite nicely thank you! (For a few more years yet, I hope.)