I open my bathroom window here in Rome, and see this old orange, still hanging on. And I think of me, with skin once resplendent and firm, now discoloured and marked with creases of time.
It draws my eye because on this first trip abroad since the pandemic, I’m realising that I’m not invincible. Time is catching up. As Andrew Stuart reminds me in a message, “You are 80. We are fading”.
Health issues don’t worry me when I understand the cause and the outlook. However, the clobbering of my old body in excessive heat is something else. It goes beyond drinking sufficient water, and leaning on a walking stick that I bought in the souk in Algeria. On occasion, when I’m sitting enjoying a meal, out of the blue I feel a vertiginous wave.
What the hell is going on? This is new. Episodes of vertigo might be as simple as adjusting to land-legs or vestibular from recent ear problem. I’m not happy not knowing.
And, it’s not so much the fading but a confidence-hit. Reality is dawning. I’m not as young as the people I’ve been working alongside feeling no difference in ages.￼￼
Hearing, memory, and balance of varying degrees is impacting old friends around me. This comes as quite a shock for me on this trip in particular, being so close to many I hold dear on the cruise.
I see￼ so many young people of all nationalities doing things, simply laughing having fun, probably getting up to things that I would never of done at their age￼. Latest fashions, jumping in the water, stealing a kiss, taking risks.￼￼ . . And, I realise, I have left those days behind. I am now firmly in the grandfather age.