Making the best of old age

Charles 2 Comments

On a slow news day, I quite enjoyed this piece by Jane Miller in my favourite newspaper:

Many of us have been possessed at times by thoughts that the life we are living is not the real one, but some botched job we somehow fell into, provisionally as it were, fine for the time being, until we’ve decided what we really want to be or do.

Old age certainly sorts that out for us. Saying to yourself that this is it, all it was ever going to be, has its consolations, allowing us to shed the frustrations of a lifetime of try-outs.

In Coda, the book written by playwright-Simon Gray when he was dying of lung cancer, he ended one chapter with the words: ‘I wish there were a way of just dissolving in the sea, without having to go through the business of drowning first.’

I like that idea, but my absence from my own death and my own funeral robs both of a good deal of interest. My funeral is not, after all, a family occasion I shall be required to organise. And what will be the point of it, anyway, if I’m not at it and in a position to check who has made the effort to turn up and who has not?

Read it all here


  1. Charles

    It reads to me as though she is living in the present more, or at least, for more of the day – which is very encouraging, since it presents old age as an escape from at least some of the vortices, currents and twisty turns of regret and anticpation and wishfulness that can fill so much of our noddles at younger ages.

    She is perhaps looking at things-in-themselves, as they are, not things (and indeed people) as instrumental in some task. H’m. Perhaps I don’t need to work at meditating, just concentrate on getting old(er) successfully?

    Belt and braces – I’ll try and do both. And will report back occasionally, from less exciting locations than Cropredy.
    Thanks Charles.

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