I read a blog called Going Gently by a man named John Gray. He recently posted a few of his reflections on turning 60. I myself am well past 60 at this point, but his thoughts still resonated with me . . . and I thought they might resonate with you as well. So I asked permission, and he said I could reprint his post for my American friends.
Honestly, I don't know much about John, except that he lives in Wales with his pets in what seems like a quintessentially English cottage, and he works as a nurse -- often taking night shifts -- at a nearby hospice. He's a good man, a good writer, and a good observer of the human condition. Now, if I only knew what a scotch egg is . . .
60 Some Thoughts, from Going Gently
I know it's such a boring platitude, but I have to say the words always said at these times . . . Where does the time go? I'm writing this at 5 a.m. Albert and I are the only ones awake. Dorothy is gently chewing on my PJ bottoms. She's dreaming she's a puppy.
Where did the time go?
I couldn't tell you . . . I really can't.
So, I have been reflecting . . . like you do. I'm reflecting until Wednesday when it actually hits me albeit gently . . . square in the face. On the 1st. I'm working all day, and we are shorthanded. I won't have time to feel anything.
Here are just 20 thoughts, thoughts in the night just before dawn.
1. Working where I do has made me realise that people who "hate getting old" are idiots. You are allowed to hate becoming ill, becoming infirm, becoming depressed. But don't hate getting old. I am lucky reaching 60. I know that, and I am grateful.
2. Memory is a fickle friend.
3. Strange as it may seem sex is better now than when I took it for granted. However, it is unfortunately more infrequent.
4. Certain memories last a lifetime and they will never leave you. I dip into a score as I lay in bed . . . 1968 Janet and I doing Tarzan impersonations out of our bedroom window. 1972 my grandmother smelling of love and cold cream. 1973 my first viewing of The Poseidon Adventure.
1980 a family party at Ann's house. 1992 getting drunk with Nu in a Galway pub . . . dancing on a Sheffield hospital roof in the dark. 1996 seeing New York City from the air.
2002 meeting my first dog Finlay . . . true love. 2015 getting married. 2016 watching the corps de ballet in Giselle at the Royal Opera House.
Happiness . . . a flash of realising I was happy, truly happy.
5. Being a nurse . . . and seeing people at their very best often when they were experiencing their very worst.
6. Now realising that when someone starts a conversation with, "I'm not being . . ." they always are.
7. Actions always speak louder than words.
8. I miss not being a dad, but I can now be a cool sort of uncle and grandadish. A couple of weeks ago my teenage nephew Leo texted after a date and excitedly told me he'd just had his first kiss.
9. Friends are life, but at 60 they start to leave you. Please treasure them.
10. The Walking Dead needs a UK version, and I soooooo want to be in it.
11. I no longer have to pretend to put up with bad behaviour, bad music, bad films or toxic people.
12. I don't expect good news coverage on breakfast TV. I say what I think more when I deal with any services and won't put up with shitty management at work.
13. Never talk about politics, gun laws, or post a seemingly innocuous blog without thinking about it online. And if I do, I expect a load of shitty responses.
14. I now recognise that real friends are real in so much that they don't rationalise affection or praise or support. They just accept you.
15. Sleep if you can in the afternoon.
16. What did we ever do without phones and internet?
17. Don't be disloyal to yourself. I've done it far too many years now. Don't do things you don't want to do. Don't be what you don't want to be, and don't expect others to do the same.
18. Eat a scotch egg when I bloody well want one.
19. If you love someone, tell them. Tell them as often as you can.
20. To now move forward into my 61st year by embracing a new skill (professional counselling), a new career, and new experiences. I realise that and deserve it.
Hey ho, I'm almost 60. And I'm off to work, soon. So wish me a happy birthday. I'm shallow enough to enjoy every single comment.