With great age comes…

I am about to start the third week of my new job.  This is a new start up company and we are building a new data centre in an inner city suburb, so at this stage we have a total of 17 people on board, mainly project managers and network architects.  My role, at least initially, is to commence the process towards achieving certification in a number of ISO standards – ISO 9001 Quality Management, ISO27001 Information Security Management, ISO 14001 Enviroment Mangement, ISO 20001 ICT Service Mangement, and ISO 30001 Risk Mangement, to name a few.  There are a few of those I have a fair bit of experience with and others I’ll be learning but that’s part of the fun and not really the purpose of this post.

I have just realised that for the first time in my life I am actually the oldest person in my work place and that scares me a bit. Not sure I’m ready to don the mantle of the wise old sage no matter how white my beard is.  To paraphrase Spiderman I am aware that with great age comes great responsibility and being a bit of a tosser I feel the weight of responsibility.  At least the Dad jokes are still getting laughs.

…what has gone before.

I know that a death in the family causes one to confront their own mortality.  Whilst I feel young the use of the word  “one” in the previous sentence might point to something different.  Looking through my eyes out into the world I don’t relly feel any different to how I did 30 years ago.  Sure a lot of water has gone under the bridge.  I became a father with all the responsibilities that entailed.  I got married and divorced.  I shifted house a few times, changed career 6 times, and all the while my body aged and I didn’t even notice.

Sometimes though, in the past few weeks, I’ve looked in the mirror and seen an older bloke looking back at me.  The skin isn’t as elastic as it was, the sock lines on my ankles at night seem to take a long time to disappear.  I need glasses to read.  My hair is thinning and turning white.  So the trappings of age are appearing way too quickly.

In preparing the slide show for Mum’s funeral I found photos of her and Dad with my oldest son Luke, their first grandchild, who is 26 as I write this.  And I don’t see old people in those photos.  In fact when Luke was born in 1984 Dad was only three years older than I am now and yet he has already been gone six very quick years.  And sometimes that face I see in the mirror is my Dad looking back at me, and when I look down at my hands which are starting to show the wrinkles of age, I stare at my father’s hands.

I don’t want this to sound melancholy because I know that it is way better than the alternative.  But sometimes, when I start to think about it overmuch, it scares me that there is now less time ahead of me than what has gone before.

Ages

“But though falling autumn leaves may reveal skeletal branches, spring reclothes the wood; a beloved grandmother dies, but as compensation for the loss, her grandchild enters the world strong and curious; when one day ends, the next begins, for in this infinite universe there is no final conclusion to anything, definitely not to hope. From the ashes of the old age, another age is born and birth is hope.”
– Dean Koontz, 1987 Twilight Eyes, W.H.Allen & Co., London, p.9

And so life goes on! Turning 50 has made me look back on the last 20 years in particular and the people who have left this world, together with the ones who have entered. Life does ebb and flow – death comes to all, but the circle continues to turn and for each person gone, many more have entered my life. Some have passed through, others joined me for a while along the way. In the end though the last journey is one we all do alone.

I don’t wish to be maudlin here but looking forward I know that the next twenty years will also bring great change. My Mum is 77 next week in the seventh month of the seventh year of the 21st century, which happens to be three times 7, all of which proves that you can look for 7’s in most places, and come to any conclusion you want to about that. But I know for sure that it is likely that she will leave at some time in the next 20 years and I hope in a dignified way and still in full possession of her marbles. I’ve seen several loved ones with dementia and the hardest part is that you can’t tell the moment that they have finally gone. It is the lingering that hurts more than anything.

I look forward to watching the continued change in my children as they grow older and reach adulthood themselves – I hope that they give me a little more credit for intelligence and good humour than I remember giving my parents. I wish more than anything that the distant father I seem to have become in the past few years is one that they seek out and whose company they enjoy. I fear growing old without them.

Time now for living, for company, for something other than work, an overseas trip, an exploration of space as well as that of time and self that I have been on for the past year.

What I want to conclude is that it is perhaps time to live like I was dying.

Ages

“But though falling autumn leaves may reveal skeletal branches, spring reclothes the wood; a beloved grandmother dies, but as compensation for the loss, her grandchild enters the world strong and curious; when one day ends, the next begins, for in this infinite universe there is no final conclusion to anything, definitely not to hope. From the ashes of the old age, another age is born and birth is hope.”
– Dean Koontz, 1987 Twilight Eyes, W.H.Allen & Co., London, p.9

And so life goes on! Turning 50 has made me look back on the last 20 years in particular and the people who have left this world, together with the ones who have entered. Life does ebb and flow – death comes to all, but the circle continues to turn and for each person gone, many more have entered my life. Some have passed through, others joined me for a while along the way. In the end though the last journey is one we all do alone.

I don’t wish to be maudlin here but looking forward I know that the next twenty years will also bring great change. My Mum is 77 next week in the seventh month of the seventh year of the 21st century, which happens to be three times 7, all of which proves that you can look for 7’s in most places, and come to any conclusion you want to about that. But I know for sure that it is likely that she will leave at some time in the next 20 years and I hope in a dignified way and still in full possession of her marbles. I’ve seen several loved ones with dementia and the hardest part is that you can’t tell the moment that they have finally gone. It is the lingering that hurts more than anything.

I look forward to watching the continued change in my children as they grow older and reach adulthood themselves – I hope that they give me a little more credit for intelligence and good humour than I remember giving my parents. I wish more than anything that the distant father I seem to have become in the past few years is one that they seek out and whose company they enjoy. I fear growing old without them.

Time now for living, for company, for something other than work, an overseas trip, an exploration of space as well as that of time and self that I have been on for the past year.

What I want to conclude is that it is perhaps time to live like I was dying.