Life

Turn your back to the wind and your face to the sun

Personally, I subscribe to the Dylan Thomas philosophy: “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” In other words, keep wiry and active. Live for the day, carpe diem, wake up and smell the roses and the coffee

Keep wiry and active. Live for the day, carpe diem, wake up and smell the roses and the coffee

LOVERS forever find pet names for their beloved – in French, 'mon petit chou' means you're just a sweet little cabbage.

And if you live in the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, why then your sweetheart might just call you 'my little round thing'.

In Ecuador, lovers refer to each other as 'fat boy' or 'fat girl', which might, in this culture, necessitate a slap around the chops with a handbag – male or female, take your pick.

But here, we do things differently.

“You're the mechanic,” says my other half.

The mechanic is the fixer – or, if you're read the film blurb, the elite assassin with a strict code and unique skill for cleanly eliminating targets.

Personally, I'm thrilled. Anybody can be a little 'lapin' – that's a rabbit to you and me. But who wants to live with a lettuce-nibbling, cuddly lump of fluff?

The mechanic is a mover and a shaker.

“You're probably driving around with a body in the boot,” jokes my other half – and I have a few scalps, metaphorical if you like – hanging up with the freshly washed undies over the bath.

It is true that I'm an organiser and I do clean things up. I garb myself for battle – particularly at election canvassing time, on the doorstep. I'd rather be a bundle of raw cut-throat energy than a pushover.

My mother tells the story of her own youth when, she insists, she lived in the shadow of her very beautiful sister.

People were forever stopping to admire said sister and would sigh that her eyes “had been put in with a smoky finger”.

And then my mother's mother would pull her out from where she was hiding behind her mum's big overcoat and say: “This little one's wiry.”

Believe me, she still is.

And, with age, I'd rather be too.

You need grace to gradually let go of all that life gave in youth and accept that the hip is wonky and the knees shriek when you're going down the mountain.

But I'll take wiry.

This mechanic takes no prisoners. This mechanic tolerates not the cold callers on the phone or the time wasters pushing other religions on the doorstep. The mechanic makes mincemeat of queue jumpers and rude car drivers who try to steal your place in the car park.

I'm strictly non-violent of course, but that status doesn't extend to my tongue.

We were out to celebrate the baby of our group's 50th the other night – she looked amazing. Definitely no way does she look 50.

But we've been a tight group of friends for over 30 years – from the days when we hung out together in a student house and the Friday night treat was a pizza and a pint for £1 down the road or, as an alternative, chips, peas, gravy and onion in the old Kam Wah.

Now we all are veering around the corner on the race track of life and accelerating towards 60. People we know are retiring and there was some chat of pensions. Yikes.

And we all got to talking about the age process and what keeps people going.

Personally, I subscribe to the Dylan Thomas philosophy: “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

In other words, keep wiry and active. Live for the day, carpe diem, wake up and smell the roses and the coffee.

In my book that means yoga, swimming and a good set of true friends.

But, with all the chat, two people's names came up.

So I'd just like to say a big hello to Aunt Alice. Gotcha. I know you read me – you're Nuala and Grainne's Aunt Alice and a shining example of what it is to be young at heart.

They love you for your adventurous spirit and the fact that at 90, you're texting away. You love travel and you even treated yourself to a bang-up-to-date TV package for your last birthday – and you're not taking age lying down.

Hello also to Eileen's Uncle John who also reads this paper and who takes a keen interest in news, current affairs and history. You are already planning the party in the summer when you will be 102 years old.

What's the secret, people forever ask. You have to ask them.

Perhaps it is a love of life and a strength in the face of all that it flings at you.

Turn your back to the wind and your face to the sun.

Be the wiry mechanic, not the fluffy rabbit.

Life

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