Three well-known names have left us, in the space of a week. David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and Alan Rickman; none of them yet 70 years old. These musicians and actors were almost my contemporaries, only exceeding my age by a very few years. Yet I thought they would endure, and at least for as long as I did. Their careers were each very much a part of my life. I bought their records, watched their performances, identified with some parts of their lives as I grew up alongside them. Now they are gone, in the blink of an eye. And I am still here.
One lesson I learned from spending one third of my life in the Ambulance Service, is that life is not to be taken for granted. A perfectly fit and well person can leave for work, and be dead moments later, face down in the street. A niggling cough on an otherwise healthy person, can be the precursor of something that can take their life within a few months. Perhaps you could live a much longer life? You might be 90 years old, and running the London Marathon. Such people exist, but for every one like that, there are hundreds more sitting in chairs, staring at fish tanks or mindless TV programmes; medical conditions affecting their mobility, their senses, or their ability to reason.
When you retire at 60, it is reasonable to assume that you might have twenty good years ahead. I did most of the right things, after all. I gave up smoking, reduced stress, and started to take lots of exercise. But when your contemporaries start to fall around you like autumn leaves, it is hard to control the thought processes that this engenders. Next March, I will be 64. In modern times, this is often described as ‘no age.’ But then so is 67, or 69, the ages of the recently deceased famous people. This gets you to thinking, believe me. You think that you had better get on with it, do what you have to do, and make your peace with your previous life.
So, no more time for procrastination and woolly thoughts. There are places to see, important sites to visit, and blogs to write. Photos to take, and to hell with the wordpress allowance. A legacy to leave, and thoughts to get out. Not worrying about the mundane, but getting it all down, somehow, and somewhere. After all, I might have twenty years left to do all this. But then again, it might only be five.