Well, Covid 19 is still here and, as I write this, we are still in lockdown. The COA Activity Centre is closed, I can’t meet up with friends and family and I have a lot of time on my hands. This is a good excuse for thinking about my “time.”

There are two types of time; one is measured time  and the other I will call “lived time.” Measured time is dictated by our clocks and natural phenomena such as the sun rising and setting. Our measured time seems to be going faster in older age. I have barely got up when it seems it is almost time to get ready for bed. Where did the day go? To answer this, I need to look at my lived time.

I try and measure my life by the quality of the things that I do. There are some things that we habitually do every day. These include everyday mundane tasks like showering, cooking, clearing away the dishes etc. There are some things that we just have to do like shopping, paying bills. (Writing this article is something that I have to do). There are other things that I like doing, such as going on walks, reading, talking to my grandchildren and their parents, and my friends.

There are other things that I always wanted to do like going through the 60+ years of family photographs, learning to play bridge, trying again to read War and Peace, and I live in hope that I may get to do some of them while I am still able to do them. These are the things by which I measure the quality of the time which I spend, and which is time that I value when I face the reality of being 80 years young.

When talking about things that I want to do, I should add for completeness that I have now given up on certain things. I have accumulated a lot of “stuff” over the years. At one stage I thought I would go through it and throw out everything I know that my kids won’t want, which is probably most of it. I have given up on this. I know they’ll do a good job carefully evaluating all of my accumulated junk before they fill the rubbish skip! We need to come to grips with the fact that there are some things that we really don’t want to do, don’t have to do, and should not try to do.

I need to get back to talking about my quality of life so that I can enjoy my lived time. In older age the word enjoy is very important. I now realise that there are many things that I can no longer physically do, or at least not do them gracefully. So, I now do these things in a way in which I can enjoy them. I have left behind the concept of a power walk. I prefer to go on

a leisurely walk to give me time to look at the scenery, chat with friends I meet along the way, stop for a   coffee (takeaway of course during lockdown) and sympathise with all the young things working out in the park with their personal trainers. There are other everyday activities which I can also take the time to enjoy. How often have I gobbled down a meal quickly for whatever reason? Now is the time to enjoy eating. If there is no hurry, and the food is tasty, why not eat it slowly and really enjoy the taste? The same applies to my alcohol consumption which has increased in the time of Covid. I would rather drink less wine but better quality so I can sip it slowly and really enjoy the taste.

When I am at home, I tune into my favourite radio  station and listen to beautiful music all day. I will start reading the book that I want to read rather than a book that I always thought I had to read. And if I don’t like the book after I’ve read enough, I’ll put it down.

There are lots of other things that I want to try because I think I will enjoy them. Some of these things I will end up not enjoying, but if this is the case, I’ll simply give them away. Time is too short to persevere unnecessarily with things that I don’t enjoy.

By now you will realise that I am emphasising enjoy and enjoyment. In older age with limited responsibilities for others, it is time to concentrate on living life for its own sake. When commenting on our preoccupation in modern life for making ourselves busy for all sorts of reasons a wise person said “Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.” (Steven Wright). My message is that we should aim to enjoy everything we do for the sake of deriving happiness and contentment from our activities. We should concentrate on having “fun” and learn to play again, as we used to when we were younger. So, when you get a chance after you are let out from lockdown, have a look at some children playing, see what fun they are having, and if you have grandkids young enough start playing with them. Enjoy your lived time!

And of course, if you enjoy helping others, please   continue to do so, because helping others will not  only give you pleasure, but gives immeasurable  pleasure to those you help. This is part of our DNA. It is part of the COA mantra; Tzedakah with Neshama.

With every best wish for an enjoyable and safe time, on behalf of the Board of Management and staff of COA,

 

Frank Marks, President