Growing older

Growing older is almost an oxymoron. But it isn’t. Because as we age, we can still grow and enhance our brainpower or, at least, minimise the ‘ungrowth’. Strangely, my girth seems to grow, yet the rest of my body seems to be shrinking! Anyway, back on topic about the growth of our minds – although perhaps I should say ‘broadening’ of the mind.

In these modern times we are able to access knowledge so easily, not just with books and newspapers and radio but via the internet. We can find an answer for anything we ask, albeit with caution about accepting web information without careful checking! Finding information is easy with online access – and we don’t even need to leave home.

In this currently, still ongoing, coronavirus world our physical contact with other people has been seriously curtailed and many, including old wrinklies like me, have a yearning for personal presence to provide the stimulus and incentive for a ‘real’ connection. The lockdown/s can be lonely and stressful for some people, yet others find it a time to enjoy and to savour the gentle quietness of living alone. A mixed blessing that can change often!

Certainly, I miss my wife Dorothy after more than sixty years together, but I am learning to cope better. I am not constantly ‘on edge’ now, waiting for a phone call to say she was unwell or involved in some personality ‘incident’. Alzheimer’s had a firm hold on her mind and she was not able to share her thoughts so our conversations could only be one-sided. Despite that, she always seemed ‘happy in the moment’ and we shared times together, walking hand-in-hand. But those days are gone, and I’m at a new phase in my life and that too, is a mixed blessing.

Making the best use of this more relaxed lifestyle has unfortunately meshed with coronavirus lockdowns. Like many others, I find there are times when the solitude feeds upon itself and I can become melancholy and drift into introspection then a state of what I suppose is mild depression. Do you know that feeling? It’s then I find a long walk is really helpful, and I’m also trying to develop activities to occupy my mind; simply being able to read again is a great antidote for me. Luckily (by my own reckoning), I am normally a quiet extrovert, mostly happy to share my personal space with anyone of any age, especially if there is a spark of reciprocity and they are of a gentle disposition.

But these days I refuse to accept or even say “I’m getting old” with its negative connotations. I’ll just try keep active and push my old mind to keep ‘growing’!