The title story in my new short story pamphlet (available from the Red Squirrel Press website folks) features an old man reflecting on his own experience of ageing. I’ve made him slightly older than me, and it’s fiction of course. I haven’t experienced everything this old man talks about, but I do understand what he’s going through, because I’m going through the same process – we all are.
Everyone ages at slightly different rates, and even different parts of your body age differently. Of my senses, I’ve noticed the hearing loss most acutely, and it’s probably linked to a feeling of insecurity over my sense of balance.
My sight’s deteriorating too, but much more slowly. I’ve got cataracts (who hasn’t?) but they’re not developing quickly. I think I’m lucky, especially when I compare myself to my wife, who now has an appointment later this month in the Ophthalmology Department at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank for an assessment of her cataracts.
My fitness regime has allowed me to compensate for the osteoarthritis in my knees by strengthening my quadriceps muscles, and similarly my shoulder problem has been alleviated by strengthening the rotator cuff muscles. What troubles me lately is a shooting pain which sometimes goes through my left wrist – the one I broke falling off my bike, the one which now has a steel plate screwed into it. It’s excruciating, and I lose all strength in my hand when it hits me, although it only lasts seconds. I suspect it’s neurological.
Mental faculties seem to be OK so far – I still do well at University Challenge questions, but they test my long-term memory, which has always been good. I’ve no idea if my short-term memory is getting worse. Planning and decision-making are still good. I’m definitely less tolerant of bad behaviour and some of today’s rather weird (to me) social mores. But these feelings sometimes translate into ideas for new short stories, so they can’t be all bad.
So all in all, I’m rather looking forward to reaching my 75th birthday in 2017. I’ll celebrate it with poetry, and I hope some of my friends will join me.