As you do! In my local bank I had just entered a new four-digit pin number. I was determined not to forget it. I sat on a chair the foyer of the bank and was intent on recording the pin number in my phone.
A rather substantial older lady approached me. “Excuse me”, she said. “I see you are a more mature senior man and I would be glad to drive you home.” My surprise must have shown on my face. “I have done this for other older men” she added. I thanked her for her offer and assured her that my car was on the curb outside. With a smile she took her leave.
How did she deduce that I was ‘a more mature senior man? I know my hair was and I was wearing a sporty check shirt – fashionably un-ironed to give the rugged out-door look. My wife doesn’t appreciate this fashion statement but despite that I persevere with it. What was it about me that gave away my maturity? Or did she mean the opposite? Did she see a doddery old bloke who may not be able to find his way home?
On my way to the hospital each day I am confronted with a huge sign. It says something I really believe. The image is a beautifully photographed bottle filled with amber liquid. The text reads – “It’s the only day you’ve got. Make it count! Jack Daniels”. Jack Daniels is a bourbon, a type of whisky, 44% proof. The implication being that imbibing in Jack Daniels will help you to make the day ‘count’.
The idea of making today count rings my bell. But I am very doubtful that imbibing in Jack Daniels is going to help me with this. In the company of friends, I did this once. Yes, we drank Jack Daniels but what happened that evening is not clear. I don’t think it was one of my significant days.
In my thinking and musing I am incurably future oriented. It hardly ever occurs to me that I might not be here to see some new development or to take an overseas trip or whatever. I have always been like that and now I am a ‘mature senior man’ I am still like that. Years ago, I was told that I had ‘a Peter Pan’ complex. It was pointed out to me as a sign of immaturity. Now I am thinking ‘a Peter Pan’ complex is a pretty good complex to have.
But old Father Time marches on and he takes no prisoners. I must face the fact that many things I used to do I don’t do, or can’t do now. Like attending business meetings and sitting on committees. Truthfully, I don’t miss them at all. My life now is focused on visiting the spinal unit of a huge hospital where my son in is receiving therapy. As well as my hospital visits my day entails driving and caring for my son’s family (I am the only driver). An occasional feature of my visits with my son are our arguments. He sees life and the world differently than I do and sparks can fly. Our relationship reminds me of my relationship with my dad. We had a different world view and a different political orientation. As a teen our disagreements were frequent and sometimes noisy. Such is life! Actually, I think my periodic abrasive contact – head butting - with my boy might have value for both of us.
And how can I make my day – the only day I can be sure of – count? How would ‘a more mature senior man’ do it? (Truthfully, that description doesn’t seem to fit me.)
What I am sure of is this. * I don’t know as much as I used to think I knew and I need to talk less and listen more. * That without fail, there is beauty all around me if I am open to it. * That the people I meet all have goodness in them. I am aware that some are so battered by life that they can only present themselves as withdrawn and suspicious. I will try to respond to all I meet with positiveness and honesty. (I acknowledge that I sometimes fail at this with my boy.) For my money, what I have said above is a way for me to make today ‘count’.