History is written by the survivors, the victorious. That is true of the big issues such as politics and economics. It is also true of our personal journeys. When you get to a certain age everything seems that more of an effort, the hills seem steeper, higher, more challenging. You put off contacting your friends from years ago. What’s the point? They probably won’t be interested or worse, they may have forgotten who I am. They may not be interested. They may wish to forget.
Now I have a repost to that argument. Get in contact with people you know back in the day, commit to a meet up, try and recognize them in the car park then go for a walk. The years fall away. The old rivalries, tall tales of youthful daring do, sibling jealousies re-emerge. This time round though you all fall about laughing. You are all more mature, you lost the testosterone, you’ve gained more perspective.
It starts in the car park. ‘’Is that …? Is it really him? Can’t be!, he had dark hair the last time we did this!’’
The realization that you and your friends really do fit in with the other ‘old folk’ in the hotel. You all know all the singer’s songs. To paraphrase the karaoke singer’s Elton John, ‘’it really has been a long, long time.’’
It all comes flooding back on the course of our day out
‘’Do you remember…?’’
‘’Him a big-time gangster, get away!’’
“I never said that to her!”
“I deny that now and I’ll do so in court!”
There’s so much to catch up on. Now you’re talking about the grandkids rather than the children you brought up. They’re all adults now, leading their own lives with their own ambitions that are not the same as yours.
You laugh so much it’s exhausting. I wonder what the other walkers on the route make of the three of us. It’s good for you physically but it’s also good for you mentally. You come away with the realization that you had an eventful and interesting upbringing. When you consider where you started from, you realise you’ve travelled a long way. Those early holidays in Saltcoats don’t have the same appeal. They certainly don’t cascade down the generations. Sorry Saltcoats, we had some good times there but you must know that things have moved on, times have indeed changed. Of course, your grandkids will plot their own course, isn’t that what we did?
You are a long time dead but live before that happens.
In more serious moments that world is still a scary place. You complain about the paucity of political leadership. Your friend from Northern Ireland replies, ‘’So you think you’ve got problems!’’ You reminisce.
The time flies and suddenly you’ve reached the summit. A little more breathless than you were fifty years ago but you still make it and it feels like you shouldn’t wait to do more of this.
‘’Ah, you know, you’re a long-time dead Charlie.’’ says Jim.
You are indeed a long time dead. The trick is to live before that happens. Make it your mission to postpone that event for as long as possible. Walking can help. It keeps you in some sort of shape, gives purpose to your life and certainly beats daytime telly. There’s no excuse, living in a country such as Scotland. There are walks to suit every taste and physical ability. All you need is a decent pair of shoes and a waterproof coat. Oh, and don’t forget to ask some friends along. Remember, it’s the old friends that make it memorable.