I find myself in a phase of life that is filled with humor, which is why I laugh when I see my naked body in the mirror. Our flat has many mirrors, perhaps as a form of punishment for some forgotten crime. My children, who are in their early 20s, see me as a source of amusement, until they need money and have to ask me seriously.
When we are young, we have a desire to try everything. Although I was too timid to try drugs, I did attend the opera a few times and may have pretended to enjoy it. It’s interesting to note the things I have never done, such as smoking a cigarette, visiting New York City, driving a car, or wearing blue jeans.
On the other hand, it might be more intriguing to list the things I have done only once, like going on a cruise, attempting to water-ski, applying moisturizer, visiting South Africa, and being a best man at a wedding (which I enjoyed and would like to do more often).
As we age, our list of things we want to do becomes shorter, while the list of things we don’t want to do grows longer. I used to go to the theater quite frequently, about four or five times a year. However, the experience became tiresome with the need to sit through plays, the difficulty of coordinating meal times, the travel time, the high cost of tickets, the mediocre wine during intermission, and the presence of dull middle-aged and elderly audience members. Eventually, I reached a point where I realized I didn’t have to do it anymore. I was a grown-up and had the freedom to choose.
Even though this realization may come later in life, it brings a sense of liberation. The chains are broken. I am happy to support a friend or their adult child’s performance, but that’s the extent of it. In American culture, there is the concept of the “bucket list,” where people make a list of things they want to do before they die. However, I have come to realize that there are many things I simply don’t want to do, and that’s perfectly fine.Ageing people often create bucket lists, which consist of all the things they want to do before they die. These lists can include activities like skydiving, visiting famous landmarks, or engaging in unconventional experiences. However, some argue that these lists are a waste of time. They believe that getting older is not about embracing new adventures, but rather a gradual retreat from them. It’s about avoiding activities that others find exciting but bore you.
As we age, our interests and hobbies change. Sports that once captivated us gradually lose their appeal. This could be due to boredom or the realization that life has so much to offer, and our time is limited. We no longer have the luxury of being bored. Sports can become repetitive and pointless, with no real significance in our lives. We start to prioritize our core interests and let go of obligations that no longer bring us joy. This shift can be a relief for many individuals.
Retirees, like my friend C, find happiness in activities they truly enjoy. Whether it’s cooking, reading, or playing golf, they glow with the joy of knowing they have the freedom to pursue their passions. Personally, I have always been an avid reader. Over the years, my reading habits have intensified. I now read over 100 books a year, not because I made a conscious decision to do so, but because I have come to appreciate the simple pleasure of sitting in the park with a book. It’s a suspicion that sunny days are best spent immersed in literature, and I wholeheartedly embrace it.
While travel can be exciting, it can also be a hassle. The process of booking flights, accommodations, and coordinating various connections can be tedious and boring. It’s important to acknowledge that not all experiences are worth the effort. Instead of chasing after every travel opportunity, it’s better to focus on the ones that truly bring us joy.
In conclusion, as we age, our priorities shift. We let go of activities that no longer interest us and focus on the things that truly bring us happiness. Bucket lists may not be necessary if we embrace the idea of tearing them up and living life on our own terms. It’s about finding fulfillment in our core interests and making the most of the time we have left.The article discusses the author’s preference for staying home and avoiding foreign holidays as they get older. The author reflects on the inconveniences and discomforts of traveling, such as packing, airport security, cramped seats, fear of flying, extreme heat, unpleasant hotel rooms, noisy air conditioners, and insects. They also mention the high cost of items and the dread of returning home. The author explains that as they age, they have less energy and patience, and they prefer to conserve their energy and keep stress levels low. They express their lack of interest in visiting New York City and their preference for relaxing walks in the English countryside. The author admits to enjoying European cities but hasn’t visited them in 20 years. They acknowledge that everyone has different tastes, and while some friends still enjoy traveling, it is no longer their preference. The article concludes with the author’s idea of bliss, which involves staying in a cottage in a quiet Dorset village, with books to read and a nearby pub. They acknowledge that this may be considered an old person’s holiday.Chris Whitty, in his annual report titled “Health in an Ageing Society,” emphasizes the importance of “old fashioned” exercise, healthy eating, and socializing in maintaining good health in old age. He calls on individuals to take responsibility for their own health through these practices and urges the government to do more to promote healthy lifestyles as the norm. Whitty suggests that people should turn to proven methods such as exercise and mental stimulation to improve their well-being.
In a personal anecdote, the author describes renting a cottage near the sea and noticing that there were very few people under the age of 50 in the area. This observation reflects a desire to simplify and remove unnecessary complexity from life, which the author believes is compatible with sound mental health.
The author shares the story of their mother, who lives a simple life in a small flat and finds happiness in enjoying herself, buying clothes for her granddaughters, and engaging in conversation. Despite indulging in a second jam doughnut despite knowing she shouldn’t, the author acknowledges that everyone has their flaws.
The author discusses the purging of ambition as a satisfying symptom of middle age. They reflect on how the pursuit of personal advantage, which may have seemed necessary in their 20s and desperate in their 40s, now appears to be a symptom of mental illness. Climbing the greasy pole of success becomes increasingly futile in one’s 60s, as there is more grease on it than ever before and it only goes up a certain way.
Overall, the article emphasizes the importance of prioritizing exercise, healthy eating, and socializing in old age for maintaining good health. It also highlights the benefits of simplifying life and letting go of excessive ambition for mental well-being.Believing in something, whether it’s love or the absence of sexual desire, is a beautiful experience for a person. However, it can be difficult to believe in the absence of sexual desire for some reason.
In the past, the desire to make a name for oneself was the driving force behind our actions. However, as we reach around 60 years old, we start questioning whether we want to continue doing a job that bores us to death.
It’s astonishing how many people endure tedious jobs only to retire and face unexpected accidents or dangers in their leisure time.
The problem with ambition is that it’s not enjoyable. When I was younger, I was relentlessly ambitious and completely self-centered. If someone I deemed talentless got a newspaper column that I wanted, I would feel intense rage and envy. However, this behavior benefited no one and only caused me to waste time and energy.
Several of my friends, both male and female, went through a harsh phase during their most successful and stressful years. In this phase, they were less cheerful and charm was unnecessary. To prove their strength, they had to be decisive and businesslike at all times. However, this harshness was not permanent. Eventually, circumstances or the passing years purged their ambition. They became less harsh, relaxed, smiled again, and appeared younger. It was as if the sun came out, trees blossomed, and heavenly choirs sang on every street corner.
A few years ago, a group of five friends and I formed a small club called WALLS: the Wednesday Afternoon Long Lunch Society. We meet once a month at a pub around 1pm. We eat, drink, engage in meaningless conversations, and if it’s summer and we’re outside, we admire passing girls. After five or six hours of this, we stumble home, fall asleep, and snore loudly like lawnmowers.Once a month, we gather at a pub around 1pm. During these gatherings, we indulge in food, drinks, and mindless conversations. If it’s summertime and we’re outside, we may also admire passing girls. This routine brings us immense joy and satisfaction. Unfortunately, modern society undervalues the pleasures of a leisurely lunch, opting instead for quick meals at desks and minimal breaks. It’s a pity that people lead such joyless lives.
When we were young and ambitious, it made sense to rush through lunch and get back to work, glued to our computers as if they might escape. But now, at the age of 60, when does the monotonous toil end and the enjoyment begin? As Primo Levi once wrote, perhaps about something else, if not now, then when?
The reason our gatherings, known as WALLS, work so well is because we have known each other for 30 years. As old friends, we share similarities – we are all talkative, inclined towards humor, and not inclined to dominate conversations. No one feels the need to prove themselves, and we all respect each other’s quirks.
The value of friendship is something that each person must discover for themselves. Men, in particular, struggle to maintain connections with each other for various reasons. One obstacle is the tendency to isolate oneself.
Most women I know have extensive networks of friends that they actively nurture, while men often retreat to their sheds, listening to the radio in solitude. I’ve encountered men in their 40s and 50s who suddenly realize they have no friends at all.
At the top of my street, there used to be a pub filled with solitary older men who kept to themselves. Occasionally, when one of them passed away, a photo would be displayed behind the bar with a black border. Another solitary man would take their place, and life would continue as before. Over the past 15 years, most of the new friends I’ve made have been women, not for any particular reason, but because they are genuinely more interesting than most men.
My friend Russell, who also has more female friends than male friends, has a great observation about the limitations of male conversation. He claims that men only have three main topics: sports, work, and machines (such as cars and computers). I initially laughed at this idea, but he challenged me to eavesdrop on pub conversations. To my surprise, he was right. While not entirely accurate, his observation holds more truth than I expected. What sets WALLS apart is that when we meet, we genuinely enjoy each other’s company and aren’t afraid to show it. Given the low standard of male social interaction, this is a pleasant surprise for me.
During one of our WALLS lunches, I asked my old friends if they were happy. David, with his third pint of Estrella, replied, “Right now, very.” The consensus among us was that despite occasional hardships, being around 60, healthy, and reasonably well-off is a good place to be.
Long lunches with friends are always a positive experience, even if we spend most of the time discussing our aches, pains, and challenging parents. And even though we may stumble home afterwards, slightly intoxicated, these gatherings bring us immense joy and fulfillment.The article suggests that having a leisurely lunch break at half-past five is a better alternative to returning to work and dozing off at your desk. The author believes that despite concerns about the future, these years can be considered the best years of our lives. With no more ambition and grown children, there is freedom to enjoy open pubs and restaurants, and there is no obligation to go to the theater if one doesn’t want to. The author acknowledges that there may be downsides in the future, but currently, they don’t see any. They advocate for living in the present, keeping life simple, not taking anything for granted, and avoiding daytime TV unless one feels like watching it. These rules for life make sense to the author as a member of the young/old demographic. The article concludes by mentioning the upcoming publication of a book titled “Still A Bit Of Snap In The Celery” by Marcus Berkmann, with details on how to order a copy.
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