Few of us like think of ourselves as old. We tend to look around to someone older than us and say: “At least I’m not as old as them.”
Recently, we went for a holiday in Greece. We drove to Stansted Airport, parked the car and then carried our cases to the bus stop to wait for a shuttle bus.
When it arrived, we boarded and I had two attempts to put our cases in the luggage rack.
Suddenly, a young man jumped up, grabbed the cases and swung them, effortlessly, into the rack.
I wanted to say “I could have done that on my next attempt”, but I instead I merely thanked him for his assistance.
To add to my mortification, a young woman offered me her seat.
There are many things we have to learn as old age makes its insidious advance: not to climb trees, to take things slowly, not to feel guilty about a post-meal nap, to avoid foods that get stuck behind your false teeth and to buy Velcro-fastening shoes.
There is no manual for growing older, but if you look in the Bible, you can find a coded description of the process in Ecclesiastes, chapter 12.
The writer exhorts his younger reader to “remember now your creator before the evil days come”.
The essential lesson to learn as we age is to be humble and gracious, and to be grateful for what we can still do, not moan about what we cannot.
Incidentally, we had a wonderful holiday in Corfu at a fabulous hotel, where most of the guests were older than us, I think.