One hundred years upon this earth – that’s something to consider.
I’ve just been to a hundredth birthday party.
It wasn’t raucous, debauched or loud. It was at lunchtime, and most people left at a suitable time for the celebrant to have an afternoon nap.
But first, there was a short speech.
“You probably want to ask me what is the secret of my long life. Well my answer is – don’t bother. My advice is to stop around 90.”
And with that, the champagne was sipped in a silent moment of contemplation before some young relative (we’re talking under 80) lightened the mood with a jolly quip.
More and more of us are living longer, and generally we assume this is a Good Thing for the older people, if not for the poor buggers who are working longer to pay for all their pensions.
But is it?
What must it be like to see all your contemporaries shuffle off to a better place while you rely more and more heavily on the kindness of relatives, strangers and medical science?
My daughter asked me at tea-time what I would wish for if I only had one wish, and if that wish couldn’t allow me lots more wishes. This caveat is because her brother always wishes for a wishing machine.
So I said, without hesitation,
“That my children should live long, healthy, happy lives.”
She smiled at me in pity, so I asked her what she would wish.
“To be rich, of course.”
For the young, happiness and health are assumed to be a given. Not so for the centenarians.