I feel much better now.
Dame Joan Bakewell, the former broadcaster and writer,
a woman of formidable intelligence and charm, says life is happiest when you
reach your seventies. She is 79. I’m a mere 69 – for just one more month.
The woman once dubbed by writer Frank Muir the
‘thinking man’s crumpet’ writes, “Life’s battles have been fought and either
won or lost and it’s too late for regret”.
Bakewell does, though, admit to have “minded” turning
70. She cured this condition, she says,
by reinventing herself. She became a
newspaper columnist, wrote a first novel and, for a time, took up a post as the
government’s ‘tsar’ for the elderly.
Like Joan, I certainly mind turning 70. Perhaps I should have it checked. I’ve never actually seen my birth certificate. There may have been some kind of mistake
along the line. It does happen. I’ve read newspaper articles about people who
thought they were one age and, on examining their birth documents, found that
they were much younger. Of course, that
could just as easily work in the other direction. What a shock it would be to discover that I’ve
already past my biblical three score-years-and-ten.
Reinvention sounds like a decent option. Now, what should I become?
I could run for public office. I quite fancy the idea of being a minister of
the crown. Minister for Sport, perhaps, nothing as arduous or controversial as
Chancellor of the Exchequer or Minister for Health. The drawback is that I’d first have to serve
as a local councilor, then as a back-bencher.
In short, I’m too late. And who
would elect me. Even a cursory
background check would be sufficient to scupper my chances.
I would quite fancy running the Marylebone Cricket
Club. The trouble is, I’ve never been an
MCC member, or played first-class cricket, or made billions in industry, so my
candidacy might fall short of feasible. I’d
like a shot at managing the Football Association. That benighted organisation could certainly
use someone sensible, progressive and decisive, the three qualities one might
say recent incumbents have conspicuously, and one could add spectacularly,
I’ve toyed with the idea for a novel. Having written one book, I suppose I’m
perfectly capable of writing another.
But Joan’s absolutely right, and I thank her for her
opinion. I’m now feeling perfectly
relaxed about heading for the Big Seven-O.
And if I don’t belatedly reach the pinnacle of some new profession or
enterprise, then so be it.
I’ve ridden my luck so far in life; I’ll be happy with
an extended run.
So roll on 80.
See if I care!