For the first time in my life, last week I felt old … and I’m only 48. If my body holds out, and medical technology continues to improve, I reckon 90 is not a bad target. So, I’m just past halfway. Knock out the first 20 years and the last 10 and I reckon on a productive life of about 60 years. Therefore, by my calculations, I have just more than half (32 years) of a potential working life to go. So, why did I feel old last week?
Well, let me explain. I was working on a committee with a group of people who had an average age, I would guess at, less than 30. These people were all more qualified than me in the subject matter we were dealing with. The things they didn’t have were 1. Manners and 2. Experience. The only way you can get these two essential qualities is ‘experience over time’. OMG, I felt old. I shocked myself. I was doubting myself. Should I be doing this? Am I too old for this? Should I be leaving these things to the younger generation?
After mulling this over for a few days. I reflected on my father and my father’s father. My father is in his mid-seventies and stopped working as a consultant in his early seventies. He ‘retired’ at 54 and nine months and thought that was his lot. He got bored and not soon after went back to work in the public service as a consultant, and did so for another, almost, 20 years. Now, I can understand why he retired at 55. His father was an old man in his 60s and died in his late 60s. On the other hand, whilst an extremely grumpy bugger, my father is still going strong in his mid-70s. So, I reckon, ‘insha’Allah’, I will live to at least 90 years, working till I’m at least 80. So, thank you, young rude person, for making me realise what a long and productive career I have ahead of me.
Tim Benson, Publisher
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