This is the first blog in the series, Tell Us About it, which is a monthly combined blog linking bloggers from all over the world including Gail from Is This Mutton, Jill from GrownUpGlamour, Debbie from Deb’s World and Mary Katherine from MK’s Adventures in Style.
Our first subject is Time, which is a huge one and at first I thought I’d look at how telling the time has changed over the years. My recollection of my childhood is there were clocks (of the analogue kind) in nearly every room: alarm clocks in bedrooms tick-tocked their way through the night, some of my friends had a grandfather clock in the hall, there was a clock in the kitchen for my mother to time her cooking, along with one of those wind-up timers that let you know when your cake was ready to take out of the oven, and in the sitting room on the mantelpiece we had an old travel clock chiming the time hourly.
This was the clock and that’s a photo taken on my parent’s honeymoon in 1945. I remember it was my father’s role to wind it every week and move the minute arm back, as it always was a little fast.
And, of course, everyone had a wrist-watch that told the time in exactly the same way as the clocks in the house did, with a minute and hour hand.
But now? We do not have a single clock in our home and haven’t for years. Because we use our phones and our Fitbits to tell the time. I wonder if future generations will be able to tell the time using a clock face with those two hands – maybe not.
So which do you prefer – a wrist watch or a Fitbit?
For me it is a Fitbit every time!
And yet, and yet. On reflection I find the subject Time has brought up thoughts that are ever present now. I don’t obsess about these thoughts, but they are there. And the gist of it is – how to have a useful, fruitful, and productive life when the years in front of you do not stretch out forever, as they did when I was younger.
Yes, dear readers, there are hundreds of quotable quotes on time, but for me, the reality is that, and this is the absolute crux of the matter, time is not on my side. I guess, no I’m sure, I am by far the oldest bloggers in this little group, I am 77 this year, so realistically, how long do I have? And yes, I did say that!
Now that might to you sound negative, but not to me. The thing is we don’t have conversations about this do we? We are all meant to be very gung-ho about ageing, yes! It’s all, nothing to worry about here. But is this real? And just a quick political thought – we really do need an adult discussion in this country about how we age and, crucially, are cared for as we become frail and very old. Enough of that for now, but personally I do like to look forensically at how we age into our late 70s, 80s and 90s. Because it is also a trigger to live well, and in the moment, and continue that search for meaning.
Living well, at my age, for me, is working out how to maintain the status quo and, increasingly, managing the decline of my body. Again, you might think, how negative is she?! Or. Oh no Penny, age is just a number, and you are such a good example of how not to age. Well, yes, I am quite feisty with the way I dress, but I think one has to be realistic. Also, if anyone says to me, age is just another number, honestly, I get so annoyed, because this is denying the reality of someone’s age. The number of years one has, they matter, they really do. So, let’s own them for starters!
Living well, with the time one has left, also means adapting and thinking through solutions. If you get those bruises on your hand, why not wear lacy fingerless gloves? Don’t fret at the state of your hands and your paper-thin skin, instead be more like Madonna! If your balance is going, work those exercises and do them every day. Think about your shoes and how they can support you. They don’t have to be clumpy and frumpy, they can be Doc Martins, they can be edgy. Why not wear flat shoes with sequins, and boots with spikes and studs, go on, do! Get out those Nike trainers and wear them with pride. And if you ache from arthritis, it’s those exercises again – move, move, move, wearing your brightly coloured Nikes, of course!
And living in the moment with the time one has left is all about what gives you joy. I think January is meant to be the month when we give up buying any clothes. I have already written about our over-consumption of fashion, but it gives me great joy to search for that bargain and what’s more if you find that bargain in a charity shop then why deny that charity the money they so desperately need. I love my clothes, I love that search, long may I continue to look for and acquire my clothes – albeit frugally, of course.
Living in the moment is also about other moments of joy with family and friends, learning new skills, even doing this newly formed blog includes learning some IT skills that I hadn’t encountered before. Yes, don’t forget blogging – how I love writing for all of you. Then there is my love of looking: just looking at art, at films, even looking at the television, I get a great deal of joy from everything to do with the visual arts. And looking for joy in your life, even momentary joy, can make the day bloom with light and fun even. Yes, don’t forget to have fun.
Then there’s travel. Oh bliss! I have booked a cruise in June of this year. I can’t tell you how much I shall love dressing up again in my beautiful cruise dresses. 2023 will be the year of travel, because if not now, when? Yes, the time to travel is right now.
However, this might all seem rather busy, as though one is filling one’s time with so many things you can somehow forget how limited your time on this planet is. There need to be the times when we quietly search for meaning in our lives: and question how to be productive and useful with the time we have left. Now, that last part of that sentence might fill people with dread. But it is the way it is. I think it was Chaucer who said, time and tide waits for no man (or woman). Well, what to do in the time we have? Makes you think, doesn’t it!
The thing is: how do you feel about this Time business? And the lack of it as we age? Does it make you rage? There’s a Dylan Thomas poem that is about that kind of rage,which includes the lines:
Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
No, I don’t feel like that. And then there’s Jenny Joseph’s poem, Warning, which begins:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me
The poem rather paints a picture of an old woman running riot and letting herself go. Not exactly me.
However, I do wear hats and rather hope they do suit me!
This is my take on wearing a purple hat!
So, how do I feel about that bastard Time – apologies for swearing but it is a bit of a bastard. However, I am mostly, most days, not every day, but most, so grateful to still be here without any major nastiness going on – it’s just ageing, which is also a bastard. There I’ve said that word it again!
But grateful is how I feel: grateful to have been born, lived the life I have, had the experiences I’ve had, had the children I have, and the husband I have. In 2023 we will have known each other for 50 years – now that’s a very, very long time, and that dear reader, gives me great joy!
Let’s continue this discussion but for now that’s all from me. However, I do hope you have a look at all the other bloggers writing on the theme of Time, including.
Gail from Is This Mutton is a stickler for punctuality, but is gamely sharing a few times when she was late and had to do a walk of shame. It seems a few airports and senior executives were involved!