I recently attended a 90th Birthday Party – what a wonderful celebration it was! The 90 year old lady – not sure I can call her the Birthday Girl at the age of 90 – was wearing a stylish blue suit, hair neatly permed (what is it with elderly ladies & permed hair? The Moslem ladies have a much better solution: they cover it all up with a headscarf, hiding wispy, recalcitrant elderly hair. I recall my mother moaning constantly about the state of her fine, diminishing hair …).
The 90 year old was circulating amongst the guest, chatting animatedly,
reconnecting with long absent friends. She still drives her car, and works two mornings a week in her daughter’s home-decor shop. Pretty good for 90, wouldn’t you say?
It set me to wondering whether I would be in a similar hearty state at the major age of 90? Will I even reach 90? And of course one doesn’t know. Even if one is the inheritor of longevity genes, and even if one is taking handfuls of vitamin pills and chronic medications, who can say? There is the random traffic accident, the wicked bite of the black widow spider, violent crime, freakish accidents. The list of possible
disasters is almost infinite. Not to mention the global sword of Damocles in the shape of the Mayan prophecy about 2012 being the end of the world. The lunatic fundamental revivalists aren’t helping either, what with their frequently edited calendars proclaiming the date of the next – really, this will be the FINAL RAPTURE, we promise! – End of the World Date. Thus far I think we have survived two, or is it three? false alarms this year alone.
90 is a memorable age. It is almost a century of living on this fragile, fallible, planet of ours with all its challenges and beauty. In the past one hundred years life in the West has changed almost beyond recognition. We have widespread access to power, sanitation, piped water, transport systems, medical resources, universal
education, judicial systems, stable democratic governments, and all this before we even mention the electronic and digital revolution. In my own lifetime I have seen the arrival of television, long distance air-travel, space age dentistry, unfettered communication, the growth of the media and entertainment industry; the invention of Kleenex tissues and kitchen paper, two of my personal favourites, along with cafe latté and sushi, let’s not forget life’s many little pleasures!
So: wishing all of us a long and happy life. All my readers are invited to my 90th birthday party. I want cake, candles, champagne, sushi, sparklers, speeches, and most important of all, I want my family and friends to be there. Bon voyage, everybody – see you in 2031!