“Once you get to fifty you become young again.” said the friendly GP, “Young to die.”
I told him I might need to change practice. We laughed, but I knew what he meant.
I realised recently that I remembered clearly the 50th birthday of each of my parents. Each day was defined by the old man’s health. On his birthday, he went to hospital for a minor procedure, which became major surgery, Christmas on a protein drip, and a cancer diagnosis. Two years later he was in a different hospital, pleading to get out for a few hours to help herself celebrate her 50th. That didn’t happen. The old man was young to die, at 52. Herself was still young to die, at 68.
Many of mine are long lived, but nobody has reached a century. I’m past the middle.
So we gathered together, the Belfast based McSpecs and the Scotland based McSpecs. We swam and lounged and laughed. We walked and ate and looked around us at loveliness. Children played, bounced on all the beds and had adventures with a golf buggy. We went to bed at a reasonable hour and were dressed, sociable and devouring cooked breakfasts by 8.30 am. Eventually we had to come home to an eccentric dog and real life.
In a few weeks, there will be no sedate loveliness, or early bed. There will be a wee room, a bar and a dance floor. Spurs Fan is compiling a playlist. There will be a gathering up of friends. There may be silliness.
Family, friends, togetherness, celebration- what’s important in the world.