Growing old can normally be a pain in the neck.
Our bodily functions do not work as efficiently as they did during our younger days; our stamina like an old car loses its accelerating power and our bones crackle due to wear and tear.
In short, the flexibility of our bodies decreases to the point of no return. We hobble around, we walk at a much lower tempo – sometimes dragging ourselves, which is rather painful and unsightly.
Yet believe it or not, we pretend to cope extremely well with the old age syndrome and keep a brave face in order to disguise our ageing process.
At night we wake up a number of times to urinate, which becomes bloody irritating and robs us of an uninterrupted good night’s sleep.
We remember the times when head on pillow sent us to a deep sleep from which we wake up full of throttle and raring to go. These times are now but sweet memories of decades gone by, when at the zenith of our relatively short life we were in full bloom before nature took its course gradually – and like a flower we fade away and succumb to a destined end.
But old age has its merits. We become wiser, perhaps less cantankerous and more appreciative of a deed of kindness. We grow in dignity and subsequently become more indulgent to other people’s foibles.
However, contrary to expectations we fear death less and accept that the end of our life is perhaps a transit to greater rewards where peace, love and a state of total serenity replace evil, greed and the inhumanity of man to man.
With a steady rise in the numbers of Oldies, so we see more books about their lives – and the ‘problems’ those numbers could create. Growing Old: The Last Campaign differs from most. As the former campaigner-politician-journalist makes clear, this is not an academic or philosophic tome – he simply shares one man’s day-by-day experience, because, day-by-day is how Oldies live…
We discover with him the evidence that he’s becoming old – and experience his shock at the physical setbacks and realisation that he is no longer remembered. ‘Why was this happening to me…what had I done to deserve this?’ We follow his thinking as he moves from denial to defiance, and join him in a series of both hilarious and revealing life expectancy tests to discover exactly how many years he has left.
Des doesn’t deny that life will become harder, but we share with him the devising of a positive way forward that he believes will prevent, postpone, or make the downsides easier to handle. This is an Oldie’s life in detail, a story told frankly but, as it unfolds, a story that moves heart-warmingly – and occasionally hilariously – – from despair and pessimism to hope and optimism. Honest, informative and provocative, Growing Old: The Last Campaign doesn’t foster the illusion that getting older is easy – but instead argues we should face those realities in fighting mood. Above all, Des Wilson’s story carries a message of hope.
And hope is what keeps us going. So Oldies, don’t despair – for life is full of unforeseen surprises, which in the main have their own rewarding qualities.