Looked at myself in the mirror last night and saw an old man.
I was briefly reminded of the line from the Jack Nicholson film ‘About Schmidt’. He looks at his wife, who is the same age as him, and wonders: ‘Who is this old woman who lives in my house?’.
I wondered who the old man was!
I put my sudden ageing down to the lateness of the hour, the buzz haircut my wife gave me over the weekend and my somewhat unkempt lockdown beard.
Earlier in the day I popped round to see my youngest daughter and her boyfriend on her 24th birthday.
I dropped a few presents off at the doorstep, rang the bell and retreated a socially distant two metres and then another metre just to be on the safe side.
They stood outside together looking all young and fresh as I sang a tuneless version of ‘Happy Birthday’.
They’re buying their first house together this year and my daughter is starting an exciting new career in a few weeks’ time.
They’re beginning the journey of adulthood while I’m starting out on the journey of retirement. Their phase of life will last over 30 years, all being well, and I’m hoping so will mine.
It made me think about what I’ve learned during those years of work, marriage and parenthood and what I’d have said to me, knowing what I know now, when I was 24.
Perhaps it’s what I should be saying to them and to me as we each embark on a key stage of life. Here’s what I’ve learned distilled down into just 20 words of wisdom:
- Savour moments
- Choose carefully
- Be confident
- Make babies
- Keep fit
- Time heals
- Take risks
- Do it
- Worry less
- Have regrets
… but just a few.