July 31. Eighteen years ago a group of 7 of us, who met only at parties (will we remember what they are?) decided to meet for lunch to organise a 60 birthday party. We duly booked a table at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge and vaguely discussed the impending party. (Which incidentally never happened)
Moving forward to now – we have met every few months since then, visiting good and supposedly good restaurants in London and the South East. It has become de rigueur to be together and share the things going on in our lives- the good and the bad and sadly, sometimes, the downright ugly.
Since then we have acquired several daughters and sons in law and 34 grandchildren between us. We have all gone from working full time to part time, to being active members in our communities. 3 out of 7 were magistrates across London. We were busy and active, interested and interesting.
We decided to Zoom twice weekly and whilst we were locked down completely it worked-ish. However, as time has gone on our institutionalization has thrown up a few worrying observations…..
Our worlds have shrunk however hard we try to remain part of wider society. News has become almost parochial and whilst I hate to admit it some of us are ageing too quickly. Health has become an obsession, total self interest has come to the fore and the cohesion of the group needs a reboot.
If we are allowed we will do a socially distanced lunch in a garden in a few weeks time, when hopefully we can rebalance and entertain and be entertained by each other.
We don’t of course know whether this would have happened anyway. Age has a funny way of hitting you when you are not watching and when, in your head you’re still 30. It’s an affront to be labelled elderly and to have to be extra cautious about being sociable. It’s something else to realise that you (never!) and those around you may be sliding into another stage of elderlyness.
On that note I’m going to find a pair of flared trousers and a flower power shirt and dance barefoot in the garden……..