Sunday, December 10, 2006

Age

Now that I've gone past the three-zero mark, I've begun to notice that everyone seems rather pre-occupied by age. Somehow, whenever you get together with friends, you can't stop talking about age and doing all the things that people with "Age" are supposed to do. Friends start to settle down and have kids. Late night partying is no longer considered fun but part of childish iresponsibility. Parents start to think retierment and talk about estate planning and grandparents start to die. I suppose you can't help noticing this thing called age, because suddenly you realise that you've got in a big way. Appart from noticing that your twenties and teens have dissapeared, you suddenly realise that the forties are round the corner and before know it, pension time will be upon you.


One of the signs of getting old is the fact that you begin to worry about what you're going to do when you're no longer able to run around. For self-employed people like me, that can be particularly worrying. Being broke in your twenties is fun - people call it "Character Building," but when you are in your forties and beyond its rather sad. So, I suppose the only thing for people in their thirites to do is to discover the joys of savings and investments. Somehow, you have to salt away a bit of cash here and there. Working lives are becomming shorter. I remember Monica Alsagoff saying that "The days of working in one place for six years are gone, you're just happy you can keep people for two years." So, if working lives are shortening, I suppose the thing to do is to maximise the time that you're able to earn a living and find lots of things to do when you're old.


But money is only part of the problem. Money can always be earnt, if you're not doing your current job, there are plenty of things that are not age-dependent. If for some reason I stop being able to run around like the clown that I am, I can still sit down and bash out a few legible sentences for newspapers. Reporting will be replaced by column writing. No, the biggest tragedy about aging is the fact that your body starts to give and no amount of money can ever bring that back.


I was reminded of this today. Eldest Aunt is on a course and so it was left to me to look after Grandma. It was supposed to be simple. At a certain time, all I had to do was to put grandmother's food in the microwave, heat it up and then see that she had eaten. However, poor grandma had to ask me to clean out her urine bucket.


My father's mother is particularly sensitive towards this type of thing. She's always been quite refined. Although my father's family did not have much money, they've always been very particular about being "Refined." My mother's family had alot more money. Mum is especially proud of the fact that her family is "Professional Middle-Class." Her family is proud of the fact that it is "Western Educated," and English speaking. However, when compared to my father's family, my mother's relatives are on "Crude" side. My father's family had alot less money but somehow Grandfather found time to instil into his children the value of artistic beauty, gentle manners and decorum. Dad laments that I enjoy the chase for money far more than I appreciate having beautiful things around me - it's in his family to want to be surrounded by beauty and art.


Anyway, here it is. My grandmother who was always proud about being refined was left to asking me to help her empty her urine bucket, which she's needed ever since a stroke left her unable to get to the toilet on her own. 


There's something kind of cute about changing a Poopie nappy of a baby. Somehow, its easy to get gooey over something's inability to control its bowel movements. It's a different thing when its an adult who can't use the toilet on their own.


Age, I suppose is inevitable and we have to make the most of the fact that we all gte older. But let's spare a thought for those who are at times left to the mercy of others because age has reduced them and their abilities that they once took for granted.  

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