Tuesday 18 August 2009

Growing older....

I am sixty-two. No make that sixty-three. I am closer to sixty three then I am to sixty-two. At almost sixty-three I have ‘issues’ with making certain parts of myself do what I want them to do.

Let me explain. I am walking towards the kitchen to get myself a glass of water. As I approach the kitchen my eyes see that the light is on. However unlike Mohammad Ali (who is so fast that he can hit the light switch and be in bed before the lights go off) I have difficulty in getting my brain to process what my eyes see. Even as my eyes sends off the first signals telling my brains that the lights are ‘on’, my hand is already reaching out towards the light switch (a reflex action) to switch it on.
  Immediately the brain stops all communication with my eyes because it knows that telling my hand to not switch on the lights that was already on is more important if ‘The Man” (that’s me) is not to feel stupid about switching a light off when it is on  - when you really want the light to be on in the first place. To stop communication with my eyes and focus on initiating the correct instructions to tell my hand to cease and desist any physical contact with the light switch cannot be done in the allotted time frame – in a thousandth of a second.

When my brain realizes that it cannot instruct the hand to stop in time – it takes the only other action possible. It tells the hand to go ahead with the switching off of the light switch but to immediately switch it on again if I am not to go into a darken kitchen. Of course all these actions happens in less then a blink of an eye but the end result would be making a fool of myself by switching off a light that I want on and having to switch it on again.
In my ‘young’ days my eyes would compute that the lights are on. Send a signal to my brain to tell it to tell my hand to “chill” as there was no need for it to do anything – and all this could be done within that thousandth of a second – every part of myself will know what it is doing and there will be no embarrassing comment by my wife to the effect of “ What are you doing?”.   
So that is one of the issues that I have with my self at 63. Parts of my self are not in sync with Houston.
What I do have control of is the ability to understand that people know that I am old. They reinforce that self-knowledge by referring to you as Uncle, Pak Hussein, ‘with your experience”. and other phrases that have the same meaning – that you are old. Most times this is a badge of honor I wear with pride and a sense of authority over life – but again my brains is a bit slow in processing these sentiment – especially and always in Public. 

It takes a while for me to realize that people are standing up in crowded buses and trams in order to give me a seat. I say the brain is slow in dealing with this because when that happens what I do first is to look around to see who is that poor old lady who looks like she needed a seat like her life depended on it - it always takes a few seconds for my brain to tell me “You are the old lady”. And so life goes on.
The more practical problems you have with old age are the everyday things that you do. Have you put in the spoonful of sugar in the coffee that you are making? You have to check the mirror to make sure that you have had that shave and tidy up your hair – no you do not comb your hair any more – there is not that much hair left – you just sort of pat it down and hope that none fall out while you are doing that. 

Finding things are not that difficult – because now you have trained yourself to put things in exactly the same place that you picked them up from. This is great in as long as you remember to do the drill every time – until you yourself decides that having the car keys beside the door is more logical then to have them in the bedroom. You do make that change but again forgot to inform Houston…and soon, very soon the same message will be relayed “Houston we have a problem”.


  1. Hi HH,

    Here's sharing with you a poem, "The Tapestry of Time" by Patience Strong.

    "Life works out a pattern on the tapestry of Time.
    The threads of hope, of love and grief, of fear and faith sublime,
    of happiness and bitterness, of joy and misery,
    are stitched into the great design of human destiny.

    Within so vast a frame, our tiny patch we cannot see.
    Too close we stand to trace the pattern on the tapestry.
    But someday, looking from afar, perhaps we shall behold
    our little bit of the design; our own small thread of gold."

    I have enjoyed reading your writings and how your writings influence your readers reflects your very own small threads of gold on your tapestry that will endure the passing of time. Thank you for sharing..

  2. Hazel,
    I wish it was possible to 'talk' to anyone who reads what i write. As I enjoyed reading 'Tapestry of Tme' would we all not be richer if more of us did what you and I did - reach out to others so that we share what we have.Tqs.