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On November 2nd 2019, I celebrate my 70th birthday. While I’m delighted to have made it so far, there will be no party, fireworks or over-indulgence of any kind.

Instead, I will pause to ponder the life I’ve lived and the life I’ve yet to live.
Although, to tell the truth I’ve indulged in a great deal of such reflection in recent days and arrive at this day with few regrets and a certain sense of satisfaction.

More importantly, I find there a good many things I’m still driven to do albeit that I might lack the urgency that fuelled me in earlier years.

As many of you know, hereditary health issues have pretty much brought me to a standstill in a physical sense. In simple terms, I’m kept alive by a dialysis machine, which is limiting in the extreme. This will change should I be fortunate enough to receive a kidney transplant but reality (or should that be pragmatism) dictates that I make plans that I can pursue here at home.

Luckily, for me, home is a wonderful place. A rambling villa set in beautiful gardens that I share with Yana, my gorgeous, talented and intelligent wife and a used-to-be-wild white tomcat called Jack. (Jack White). Jack, like Rocky, keeps coming home battered from fights he should not be getting into at his age. I know exactly how he feels.

At my age I probably shouldn’t be planning to do the things I am. After all, does anyone really care what a seventy year old might be doing creatively? Isn’t it time I sat down and shut up? Perhaps. But I’ve always been the kind to swim upstream and see no reason to stop now. After all, isn’t swimming upstream all about spawning? Why can’t it be about spawning new work?

So for my birthday I make you, my friends, this promise:

In my seventies I will release a book of collected short stories and at least three albums worth of new songs. I’ll probably put the songs directly online because, I’m assured, no one buys albums anymore.
And since I am now confined to home, after a great many years of abstinence, I will return to my roots, take up the brushes and begin to paint again.

I have no great aspirations for any of these activities but they should keep me amused and might even bring joy to others.

Finally, wouldn’t it be wonderful if one or more of my new songs won an award or two. That’d be one for the old buggers, wouldn’t it?

Something to aim for, don’t you think?