Last week I rang up an old friend who was due to reach the 70 club and by way of a welcome wished him a happy birthday, while indicating the event was quite painless, speaking as someone who’d been there for a number of years.
He was not convinced, least of all by my use of the word happy, retorting: “Happy, what’s to be happy about? I am losing my hair, my teeth and my sex drive is but a distant memory, and you are asking me to be happy. Are you off your head?”
Despite my protestations about some of the joys of getting old he remained less than convinced that the elixir of life which I was promoting was a myth, dreamt up in some pub, refusing to accept there was any kind of happiness beyond the three score and 10 years he’d already enjoyed.
But nothing if not determined I ploughed on with my message of joyful old age, inviting him to share a meal and some wine by way of celebration. He eventually agreed, so it was with some considerable foreboding that I met up with him.
In the event it proved to be a pleasant experience, as over the course of the meal he seemed to accept that while we were deemed to be over the hill by others of less mature years, there was a lot of fun to be had in running down the other side. Mind you it took the best part of a bottle of good red to get him to the point of admitting there could be life after even 60. We parted on the best of terms with my chum vowing to spread his message of cheer among his family.
A week later I plucked up sufficient courage to ask him how his new attitude to life was going down with his family to be told: “Fine, but they still think I’m an old moan.”
Ah well Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I’ll gauge his progress over the coming year. In the meantime I shall have enough on my plate in 2016 coming to terms with shedding some of my work commitments, while continuing to enjoy life in what is rapidly becoming if not the slow lane, then certainly at a reduced pace.
I am stepping away from some of my duties on the road, including trips to Edinburgh, but keeping my hand in on matters local.
The bad news for some is I intend to carry on writing this column and far from being nice to our national and local politicians I am more likely to up the pressure on those who would like to pull the wool over our eyes, including the Scottish Government who seem to think we are all buying into their many excesses.
But let’s leave that for another day, and be a little less curmudgeonly as we progress into another year. May it be a good one for you, notwithstanding your age.