One of the problems with life is that, just as once there was a beginning for each of us, there will also, naturally, be an end. Moreover, as you get older, you can’t help but notice that family, friends and others who’ve been part of your life for as long as you can remember, die. As a result, you start to go to more funerals; as I’ve done over the past few years. And, before you think that I’m getting maudlin, I’d like to say that I’m not. I am, however, becoming more reflective. Perhaps it’s a consequence of listening to more eulogies. More likely, though, it’s simply as a result of getting older! Now, for someone of whom a friend once commented, “To Mike, age is just a number”, that’s quite an acknowledgement. So, how are things different for me now?
Well, for a start, I have a personal life that’s nearer what I’d hoped that it might be than I ever expected. A second family, to add to my first one (plus their own children) that I feel very close to and who, I think, get on well together. A wife, who I regard as my best friend and whose company I thoroughly enjoy. This made easy by that fact that we share similar values and interests.
I’ve also been lucky in that I’ve spent much of my working life doing what I’ve enjoyed doing. So much so that, for the past 38 years, I’ve not really considered it as work. So, you could argue that I have a good life/work balance. I also feel that I’ve made some contribution, albeit on a very small scale, to leaving a mark in the world. Finally, I still feel the need to keep going and do more, although I’m starting to realise that I might not always feel that way.
The downside is that, my sessions at the gym and my running, while still regular and fairly strenuous, leave me more tired than previously. I am also much more conscious of my health generally, reflected in visits to the GP if I’m concerned about anything. Fortunately, these visits, so far, show that I’m in extremely good nick.
So, are there any lessons to be learned? Well, yes, I think there are. The chief of which is not let life get in the way of being who you want to be and doing what you want to do. And before you say that that’s easier said than done, yes, it is. In fact, it can be extremely difficult to change. However, do you really want an old age that’s full of regrets for the life you might have had? No, I thought not.