Sunday, 6 July 2014
6 July 2014. My 62nd birthday. Fabulous. I've never felt better, never looked better, nor have I lived through a more satisfying time in my life.
Perhaps it would be even nicer to have most of my years still ahead of me, rather than behind, but I'm not complaining. There is much to be said for being older. For one thing, people are more considerate. And they assume that you've lived a bit, that you know what's what, and therefore treat you with respect. These are great consolations. But of course one day I may hear that artificially cheerful voice people put on when dealing with the very old and frail:
Lucy's ninety-five! You'd never think it, would you? What's that, Lucy? You want what? Oh, she wants to see the view from the cliff edge. Oooh, I don't think that would be a good idea. Not a good idea, Lucy! No! You wait here, and we'll look for you. Then we'll all go back and have a nice cup of tea and a lovely slice of that cake you like. You'll like that, won't you?
And so on. At least I'm taking it as read that if I survive to 2047 (when I will be ninety-five) old people will still be spoken to exactly as now, and indeed as they always have been. Strange that they are treated as a race apart.
At a mere sixty-two, you are still taken seriously; but you're already on the slippery slope to a nice cup of tea and slice of cake - and incontinence pads.
So keep this truth in mind, when inclined to venerate and exalt any self-styled Important Person, a world leader for instance. They all develop dodgy digestions, weak bladders, tired brains, and a tendency to dribble. They are just the same as the rest of us. And they will end up the same way as the rest of us. They are not immortal, they are not immune, and they cannot cheat dissolution, death, and eventual obscurity after they breathe their last. There's nothing special about any of them. Their best ideas and creations may endure, but their personal ambitions are worthless, and nothing will be left of their personalities, good or malign, stupid or clever, dour or funny, truthful or lying.
You can't buy the essence of some guru or saint or scientist or reformer or tyrant or film star in a bottle. As persons, they've gone forever, without a trace. They never came back, never will, and nothing of them remains. We have utterly lost them. And we are completely free of them. If you think otherwise, then you have been sold a falsehood that suits the interests of their successors. They have really gone, and they really can't be called back. They are not slumbering in a cave somewhere. (This includes King Arthur. What a pity, but there it is)
If old age is the great leveller, then death is the great dustbin. Trust me.
Well, I've had my early-morning belch and pee, and I've wiped my chin, and warmed up my feeble brain. So let me proceed with this post!
By yesterday afternoon, I had quite a collection of envelopes on my mantlepiece:
I've now had the fun of opening them:
So far, thirteen birthday greetings. Two by email, eleven by card. Six of the cards from family, four from friends, one from a neighbour, one from the lady who cleans for me. I fancy I may well get more greetings of one sort or another by the end of the day.
Note that all I wish for is a greeting, the proof that I was remembered. That, for me, is the big kick.
I don't want presents. In fact, I forbid them. Nor do I want a big fuss of any kind: I'm not a party animal. In any case, sixty-two is not a 'significant' birthday, not like my sixtieth was, or my seventieth will be.
It's a wet morning here in Sussex, but it should improve! I have three things lined up for the afternoon, all of them in Brighton, one after another. I'm very much looking forward to them.
By the way, the lovely pink card that heads this post, with all the feminine things on the front of it, didn't come from a trans friend. It came from my cousin R---, the retired headmistress in Kent, who is a few years older than me, a no-nonsense realistic grown-up practical person, and the last person to be obsessed with all that is pink and fluffy and hopelessly girly, even if she is also a true friend as well as my cousin. I think her card is an agreement - proof - that she and I are on the same side of the fence.