This picture was taken in the best summer of my youth. It was the summer of 1967. I am on the far left. My best friend then and now, Esme Johnstone, is in the centre. Diana, my sister, is on the right. We had been to visit Expo 67 in Montreal and were now in St Andrews by the Sea.
Today, we are all grand parents. Esme and I will be 65 this summer. Diana is a bit younger.
We were then at the end of our teen years. In two years, Esme and I would be at university. In 5 years Diana would be married. So would Esme. I write this now because in 2015, I find myself in the same kind of end of a stage in life and the beginning of another.
Then it was all about the end of being a child and the onset of being an adult. Of becoming a person who had to support themselves and maybe have a family. When what was ahead was duty and obligation and the end of the freedoms from responsibility that are so much part of being a teen.
1967 was our last year of total freedom.
The irony for me is that, as I reach 65, I am regaining that lost freedom. I no longer have to work to support others.
My own children, now in their late 30's, have their own careers and families. I'm nice to have around but no longer essential. I love seeing my grand children but I don't have to raise them. My parents are dead and no longer need my attention after 30 years of being in my care. I don't have any debt. I own a small house that is easy and inexpensive to run. I need only a tiny income to get by. So I don't need to work for money either.
I am healthy. My father was dead by 55. My mother was totally disabled by 40. I did not have high expectations of keeping my health. But fortunately, back in 2009, some new friends got me involved with the movement that is helping people take charge of their health. I now have every chance of not developing any of the chronic illnesses that were my destiny back then and that make old age a misery for so many.
One last factor. At 65, I am acutely aware that death is inevitable and will take place soon. In my case 15 - 25 or 30 years is still "soon". Having lived 65 years already, I know how fast 10 years can go now. With death as the inevitable future, I have very little to worry about. The smallest things, breakfast, a hug from my wife, a walk, wine all are things to be celebrated. It takes so little to please me. Even a cold rainy day is better than no day at all!
So I find myself back to where I was that glorious summer in 1967.
I am free. I have time. I have time for friends and I have time for me.
I have friends here where I live that live just around the corner. I can go by and ask if they want to come out and play.
Our play is usually some form of work but not "job work". We help each other get things done. I helped this winter with a friend in maintaining a skating rink on the lake. I help our local paper on Facebook. I volunteer at our local museum.
I have time for me.
I have time to write. I am writing, as you can see on this blog, an episodic history of World War 1. I am also writing a Fantasy/Historical trilogy for young readers. I am building new tools to help others take charge of their health.
At 65, I am free at last.
So for my younger readers, it's not so bad being an old fart. And for those that wonder what we all look like now.
Here is Esme now.
And here are Diana and I
So here's to you enjoying your old age too.