Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Eighty Years Young

Eighty Years Young- Growing older ---  15th November 1932 
       It began slowly almost imperceptibly gradually gaining momentum until it was flying along, almost hysterically. In the last few years it has been traveling at break neck speed. Hours became days, days became weeks, weeks became months until today when I awoke like any other with the sun rising in the east. I lay there slowly surfacing, nothing seemed to have changed but everything had. I had reached that magical age of eighty and still going strong. When I look back to my childhood, eighty was uncommon, most people died in their seventies but much change has occurred and here I am sitting comfortably at this computer writing these few reminiscences.
      Is this old age? I guess it is, certainly if I look in a mirror, I see an old face looking back at me but when I think, read or talk, my age seems to dissolve away and I could be any age at any time. Inevitably death enters my thoughts more frequently time goes on  although it has been by my side for as long as I can remember, gently nudging and chiding me. I have seen it visit many people during my lifetime  and have been struck by the calm that its presence brings to the body that remains. The future remains an enigma. We really don't know what it holds and perhaps it is better that way.  Certainly the past gives no indication of what is to come.
    Could anyone have foretold the changes that have occurred during these years, so many innovations, scientific advances, technical improvements?  I am reluctant to use the words advances as each brings with it disadvantages. The motor car an almost miraculous invention has left behind a wake of death and disability. The airplane another unbelievable invention has had its toll of death. Medical advances such as the antibiotics, joint replacement, heart, lung liver transplants are now familiar to all. Perhaps the most remarkable and the one that has most affected our lives is in the field of communications ranging from the old style Radio to Television, computers and mobile telephones. The latter have changed the way we live our lives, no longer needing to plan every action as we can speak to each other in most parts of the world.  Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone in 1870 has blossomed into a facility that is a central part of our lives. So much so that most of us couldn't imagine a world without one.
     So what of the future? Will the wheel be replaced by a hover system?  Will our roads become rails with cars linked together?  Will we be able to fly using a self propelled system? Will surgery become unnecessary as more and more treatment is carried out through the body's existing channels such as the veins, the arteries the mouth etc.  Will we understand the chemistry of the aging process and begin to control it?
So many exciting things to come…..