Wednesday, June 29, 2011
How does it feel to be ninety?
The old bones start to creak. The muscles seem to get sore quickly. The spirit is still strong and I still have my self belief, but, just not the old energy. Sometimes it comes in a rush and other times it deserts me. Every forward step now takes my breath away.
Why can't I just sit back quietly in the sun and take the time to review my life? My successes and, yes of course, my failings. What man is so perfect that he has not made mistakes in such a long life? I just want to live without a care.
But I don't seem able to, no one will leave me alone.
My children and grandchildren always pester me, asking questions, criticising, wanting me to change.
Grandpa, they ask, we want more money. We want to do things like the kids in other families do. We want to do things on our own without you prying and watching us all the time. Aren't we almost adults now?
But why should I change? I have made as good a home for them as anyone can. I restored the family's pride, grandeur and fortune when other families have fallen.
When my children were dressed in rags I clothed them didn't I? When they were hungry I fed them. I built them magnificent places that are the envy of all other families everywhere.
Of course I was a little strict and I did not spare the rod. Children need discipline it builds character and loyalty. I instilled that in my children, but instead of being thankful they look back at the hard times that we went through and blame me. It is easy to do isn't it? Blame. But I am not ashamed I did what I thought was right and looking around me now I see all the good things I have brought upon my family and am proud.
But now some want to put me in a nursing home. Grandpa is old now, they say, he can no longer lead our family! His ideas are too old fashioned!
They use to love me my family. At birthdays and special occasions they would all come around and march and sing like little soldiers to entertain me. But, not anymore do they come with such enthusiasm and love. Some do of course but not all of them. Not like the old days.
And it's not only my family that pesters me, it's others as well
Other families look at my family and wonder how I did it. I am sure they are in awe of my achievements but they rarely give me praise.
They greet me with a smile on their faces but I oft see their venom and jealousy.They pretend superiority. They pretend that the way they run their families is the best way and that I should change.
Why do they want to tell me how to run my family. Do this, don't do that, they say, but what do they know? They only know their own family not mine.
Sometimes I just want to grab them and bash their heads together but that is not my way. I just smile and walk away but, one day, who knows?
So I am happy to just say "look what I have achieved for my family! Look after yours before you tell me what to do."
So mind your own business, I say to them, go away and leave my family to me, to do things the way I want them to be done.
But I really am tired. It has been a long and hard life. Maybe it is time to let my children take over.
I just don't know? Maybe, one day.
Posted by Stephen Sullivan at 10:56 PM