Sun | Jan 23, 2022

Michael Abrahams | On getting old

Published:Tuesday | January 11, 2022 | 12:06 AM
I think the effects of the ageing process first dawned on me when I started to feel a disconnect from the music of today. I have always loved music. If a song was on the Billboard Top 40 or local charts, I would know it and likely enjoy it, too. But nowada
I think the effects of the ageing process first dawned on me when I started to feel a disconnect from the music of today. I have always loved music. If a song was on the Billboard Top 40 or local charts, I would know it and likely enjoy it, too. But nowadays, I am confused.
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It is official. I am old. Funny thing is, I do not know where all those years went. It is as if they just evaporated in the twinkling of an eye. One minute, I am in high school admiring the pretty girls all around me, and the next, those same girls...

It is official. I am old. Funny thing is, I do not know where all those years went. It is as if they just evaporated in the twinkling of an eye. One minute, I am in high school admiring the pretty girls all around me, and the next, those same girls are grandmothers experiencing hot flashes. Just the other day I was laughing at old folks. Now I am one of them.

I think the effects of the ageing process first dawned on me when I started to feel a disconnect from the music of today. I have always loved music. If a song was on the Billboard Top 40 or local charts, I would know it and likely enjoy it, too. But nowadays, I am confused. Yes, there are songs and recording artistes I appreciate, but so much of what I am hearing sounds like rubbish to me, and I am now sounding like my parents, saying stuff like, “What is that? That is not music. Back in the day we had real music, real songs!”

And the fashion is weirding me out, too. Like the way some of our young men dress nowadays, I just don’t get it. Why wear your pants almost at your knees? When I see them I feel like I could just slap them upside the head. But I do not, because I detest violence. Also, I am old and I can’t fight, and at my age broken bones take considerably longer to heal.

I remember laughing at my grandmother when she would mix up the names of my cousins and myself when calling us. She would be like, “Kar… Pete… Mich… MICHAEL.” It would be hilarious. Now I am doing the same with my kids.

As for forgetting stuff, all I can say is, thank God for remote keys for motor vehicles. Sometimes I would return to a parking lot and have absolutely no clue where I parked my car, so I have to ‘call’ it. Then there is the grey hair, the diminishing visual acuity, and the aches and pains that accompany ageing. Tiger Balm, Bengay and Excedrin are my constant companions now.

ADVANTAGES

But getting old has its advantages, too. For example, the older I become, the less I care about what people think about me. In my youth, I was concerned about people not liking me. Today, my concern about that is minuscule, and I must confess the feeling is very liberating. There will always be haters no matter what you do, and looking back, I realise I have wasted much time worrying about my detractors and what they say and think about me.

Over the years I have learnt a lot, but the funny thing is that the more I know, the more I realise how much I do not know. With the passing years and the experience has come humility.

As I am now closer to the day of my death than I am to the day of my birth, time has become my most precious commodity, and I have learnt to value it. And valuing it means not only to be productive, but to not waste it arguing with people who have no interest in trying to understand any perspective other than their own. Peace of mind is so much more important than being right.

On the other hand, I have also learnt the value of taking time for myself. I am highly driven, and any task I take on, I attack with zeal and dedication. But I have come to appreciate the importance of balance in life, and there are times when I have to withdraw and recharge. If I work myself into a frazzle and drop dead, my patients will simply carry their pelvises to other gynaecologists, and life will go on.

Living as long as I have has caused me to cherish life, and l live mine with an attitude of gratitude. So many persons I thought would be on the journey with me now are no longer with us. I am grateful to be here and have learnt to live each day as if it is my last, as I realise that this precious gift can be snatched away from me at any minute.

So growing old is not that bad after all. I have embraced being an old f**t.

Michael Abrahams is an obstetrician and gynaecologist, social commentator and human-rights advocate. Send feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and michabe_1999@hotmail.com, or follow him on Twitter @mikeyabrahams.