30 November 2010

The Club

This week I joined a club. You don't have to pay membership subscriptions to become a member, in fact you are given money to join. Not everyone is eligible - you have to meet certain criteria - but most people don't really want to join in the first place. I am talking about the club of OAPs (Old Aged Pensioners). I have reached my 60th birthday (yikes, how did I get there?).

I must confess to dreading it beforehand - one foot in the grave, God's waiting room etc. "I'm too young to die", I thought. I don't feel sixty. Nearly everyone I know or meet, says I don't look sixty, more like forty. I am still energetic, have all my own teeth and marbles and am a dab hand with a mallet or a paintbrush. I don't wear furry hats which have flaps over my ears and I don't push bits of rubbish into the kerb with a walking stick. However, am I now supposed to push my decrepit way to the front of the bus queue waving my free bus-pass or hopping on a coach for a day-trip to Bournemouth? Am I destined to watching back-to-back editions of Flog it or Escape to the Country to fill up my days? The approach of my sixtieth birthday (particularly without Greg) did not fill me with enthusiasm.

My two best friends from University days came to the rescue. One couldn't be there at the beginning of my birthday, the other could not be there at the end, so between them they devised a plan. One with her husband arrived the day before, accompanied me to my favourite national heritage site here, then we spent a lovely evening together, with them staying over. She brought me breakfast in bed the next day on my birthday, then decorated the kitchen table with flowers, balloons and breakfast things. They treated me to a lovely lunch in a local Italian restaurant, then once home again, they broke open a bottle of champagne and, together with my other friend who by now had turned up, sang Happy Birthday while I cut a cake the second friend had brought. The first friend and her husband then had to leave mid-afternoon, but the second one carried on showering me with presents, her lovely company and photos of her recent holidays to Vienna and Prague. We chatted non-stop and didn't get to bed until nearly 1 am.

We woke up to the first snow this season in London. My second friend needed to get back before the snow made travelling to Brighton impossible, so I waved her off mid-morning. It went on to snow all day and we are now under a white fluffy blanket of about 6 inches. Thankfully, I am in the warm and truly thankful for wonderful friends, who not only helped me to get through my first birthday without Greg, but made my transition into OAP-dom thoroughly memorable. Is Escape to the Country on yet? No fear.... I might even start training for the next London Marathon! That is, when the snow melts.....

View from my window this morning

21 comments:

andrea said...

best wishesto you and good moments the following years

Kay L. Davies said...

Wow, we don't get the old age pension until 65 in Canada. I'm going to be a Beatles song tomorrow, however.
About that bus pass - use it. You don't have to go to the head of the queue if you don't want to, but use it anyway.
Congratulations on being a pensioner while you're still young enough to enjoy the perks.
-- Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Eliza said...

Happy Birthday, I have one coming up early next year!
I'm glad your friends gave you a wonderful day to remember :-)

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Glad you had a good day Addy - good friends are priceless.

Age is a funny thing. I am nearing the sixy mark - a year and a bit to go - yet I still don't feel 'old'. When I was a young thing - I thought thirty ancient!

Enyoy your pass!

Anna :o]

Working Mum said...

Congratulations! What lovely friends.

Now you can start to enjoy the rewards for all the time you've spent working - free travel, no fines at the library (I could do with that one!), free swimming at your local pool, concessions on cineam and theatre tickets, etc. Just think of it like being a student!

Nora said...

Congratulations on your birthday. We hardly get any such perks here in the Netherlands and we have to wait until we're 65 until we get any. I think you're pretty lucky. I have 4 years to go until I turn 60, but I won't get to go on the nus for free.

Nora said...

On the bus for free, I meant!

DogLover said...

Can't remember my 60th birthday, but friends invited me and my wife for a week in their chalet in Switzerland for my 70th, eight years ago ...

How lucky you are to have such kind friends and how lucky to be so young!

Yes, why not do the Marathon thing, but wait till the snow's gone before you start getting into training...

Kelloggsville said...

Happy birthday and Hooray for good friends!

Linda said...

Happy, happy birthday!! I understand what you are talking about -- I turned 62 on the 28 of Nov. In 6 months I have to decide if I want to retire or wait until I'm 66. In the US full retirement is age 66, but you can retire anytime after 62. I'm actually starting to look forward to it.

I'm glad you had such a lovely day!

Linda

Kit Courteney said...

Oh, happy, happy birthday!

What a couple of wonderful friends they are!

I turned 40 this summer and am going through an unpleasant separation and a truly hideous house move and feel twice my age already! 60 is young!

Very happy returns to you :0)

Spencer Park said...

Happy birthday! I am really glad that you had a good time.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Like you my first birthday after Davy died was a big "O". In my case my 70th. I dreaded it but with the help of family and good friends I actually had a good time.

As you know, I then decided to do something extemely mad and signed up for an Oz-Bus overland trip leaving London on 27th March 2011 for New York via Eastern Europe, China and Alaska. Wanna join me?

Retiredandcrazy said...

PS - sorry Addy, so involved with myself - I forgot to wish you happy birthday.

Furtheron said...

Happy birthday!

It is only a number - I know everyone says that but it is true. I have a mate who is over 60 but in the last 5 years he has, learnt to ride a motorbike and got a 800cc touring machine now!, learnt to play the guitar, left one career and started another etc.

Go forward and have fun.

I'm only 2 years off 50 - now 50 used to sound like something ancient to me but now I'm nearly there but still feel like a teenager at heart at times

Flowerpot said...

A very very happy belated birthday and I'm glad your friends took such good care of you on the day. 60 is the new 40 anyway so no way are you old!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Aww, a huge happy birthday for a spring chicken (perhaps a slightly summer one if we're being honest, LOL)

My husband was 61 this year. You're as old as you feel. Or as he says, as old as the woman you feel, and as I'm 20 years younger than him that makes him feel pretty good!!

btw, I'm doing a giveaway on my blog. You've been a loyal blogging friend for quite some time now and I'd hate you to miss out on a chance of winning something.

CJ xx

Nota Bene said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Ellen said...

Happy Birthday to you and I am pleased to hear that you celebrated this occasion with such special friends who spoilt you so beautifully. As Flowerpot says - 60 is the new 40! Live each day to the full. (Isn't the snow a sight to behold!)

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

Thanks for all your comments. I don't actually get my state pension or free bus pass until I am 60 and a half, as they are gradually phasing in retirement for women at age 65 and possibly later. So I still have to wait 7 more months for all the perks of retirement.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Getting so past it cant remember whether I've wished you happy birthday or not. so happy birthday!