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Reflections on Aging: Embracing Laughter, Memories, and the Unpredictable Journey

Written by  Dec 10, 2023

You know you are getting old when the noises you used to make during sex are now the same noises you make when you get up off the sofa.

I always feel sorry for those people whose birthday falls on or around Christmas. “This is your joint birthday/Christmas present,” is probably a phrase that haunts them. Their birthday celebrations tend to get drowned out by the Christmas cheer.

Yes, you’ve guessed it I have just marked another birthday. Although to be honest I stopped get excited about my birthday somewhere in the 1980s.

I am not sure if it is just me but I often forget just how old I am. I guess you reach an age when you lose track of the numbers. To be honest I had even forgotten it was my birthday until my wife said “Make sure you aren’t working on Friday night so we can go out for a meal.”

So I now have 11 years (or 12 in the UK) until I can take my pension.

How did I get so old, so quick? It seems that up to the age of around 30 a year is a like a lifetime, and then from 35 onwards they kick into turbo speed and whizz by. I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

Although saying that I don’t feel my age. In fact, my mind probably still thinks I’m 18! However, I don’t remember having to go to the toilet twice a night in my teens! You know you are getting old when you walk past a bathroom and think to yourself “I may as well pee while I am here.”

To bucket or not to bucket - that is the question

Should I start making a bucket list? I got into the habit about 5 years ago of making a daily “to do” list. For two reasons – a) I was starting to forget what I needed to do and b) there is something very pleasing about ticking off a completed task. But a bucket list seems slightly morbid.

Nevertheless, I thought about what I would put on mine. It’s tough not to copy the usual suspects that everyone would put on the list.

So I started to make a list. And there was a recurring theme – travel.

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I really have no great desire to drive 200 mph in a Formula 1 car, or play roulette in Las Vegas or even go parachuting (although I probably would) but I do have a lifelong curiosity to discover different cultures. I have only seen around 30 of the 195 countries in the world, so seeing them all probably isn’t realistic, but at least I can reach 50.

Travel is the greatest source of memories. And memories are the greatest wealth we can have. When we all look back at our lives we won’t be looking at our bank balance and think “if only I had saved more money,” that’s for sure.

And this is one reason why we need to make all those tourists who visit us every year have an unforgettable time.

Not growing old gracefully

My list got longer. And I soon realised that I would need at least a year off and half a million euros to complete it. That’s another problem with a bucket list, it’s hard to be realistic.

I decided to cut it down to thirty, and then twenty, then ten and then screwed up the list and threw it into the garbage.

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing,” once wrote the great George Bernard Shaw. No bucket list for me, no plans and no schedules. I am going to go with the flow and keep laughing as much as possible.

I have no plans to grow old gracefully, far from it, that’s one big advantage of getting older you lose the need to comply with social niceties.

For all of you that are unfortunate enough to have a birthday around the festive season my condolences, but on the flip side at least you know that you were conceived in the bright colours of Spring.

And I’ll leave the last word to the journalist Bob Phillips when he said “There are three stages of man: he believes in Santa Claus, he does not believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus.” My beard is looking more and more Santa Claus.

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to


About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik


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