Getting old is all in the mind.

You can’t do anything about getting older – You just have to know how to handle it!

Keep your body as fit and as strong as possible with exercise to stave off pain and stiffness.  Exercise corrects your posture but do you ever catch a glimpse of yourself and think “Who is that round shouldered, grumpy old guy?”  The first stage is an almost imperceptible slump of the shoulders, mainly when you’re tired. This soon becomes your normal stance and causes your head to poke forward.

Imagine someone has taken hold of your hair and is gently tugging your head upwards towards the ceiling. Grow tall, lengthen your neck and pull you shoulders back and down a little. Look at yourself in the mirror and you will appear slimmer by standing tall. This will become your natural stance. It has worked for me for more than the past twenty years even during the Covid lockdowns or should that be in spite of them?

I’m now 86 years old and I like to think I don’t look my age but then I might possibly be biased.  Anyone who has know me would be astonished that I lived beyond my twenties. From being a twelve year old schoolboy forced into boxing in the Albert Hall as a heavyweight (12 years old) in the National championships (I was knocked out)  to being a sixteen year old apprentice aboard an armed merchantman nearly dying of fright taking part in the Korean War as the US 7th Fleet shelled the South Koreans in the jungle above us. Their shells looked as big as double deckers as they flew above us.

This baptism of fire has made me volunteer for anything that will keep my heart pumping faster. I’ve found myself rock climbing, scuba diving, ocean racing. I volunteered for Special Forces during the Cold War. Becoming an underwater explosives expert during the Suez debacle.  I volunteered to help dig out the kids buried in their school by a spoil slip in Aberfan, that didn’t do me any favours. I’ve volunteered to both navigate and later skipper a couple of Tall Ships and skippered an Ocean Racer in the Fastnet Race that became famous for being devastated by a force 10 hurricane and some 60 yachts being lost. I managed to wait it out by heading into the Western Approaches.

my games have left me with scars from torn cruciate and mediate ligaments. Later I had to be given two stainless steel knee joints. Three weeks after being fitted with the second knee joint I took it to the Brecon Beacons to a hill called Pen Y Fan and I climbed a Special Forces Route called the Fan Dance. I didn’t do the 24 mile route but I got to the top without using a walking stick.

some three months ago I managed to fall over for no apparent reason. My steel knees make it very difficult to kneel, my long suffering, much loved wife was unable to help me stand, so my nearby Grandson had to be called to pick me up. After the third fall in a week, he decided that enough was enough and insisted that an ambulance was called. Two nights in hospital diagnosed a trapped nerve was the cause so I’ve been at home in recovery. Confined to barracks by my bossy wife, bless her. I have her permission to return to working out at my gym next week. I’m suffering from what sailors call “The Channels”, it’s the excitement of seeing your loved one very soon! Mine I’ll call Bannatyne’s Tomorrow.

I’m beginning to think that coping with getting into old age isn’t so much as keeping fit but more to do with being crazy! That’s me, old and crazy!


About Jake

Long retired travel writer, author and freelance journalist. Educated at Wolverton Grammar and Greenwich Naval College. Happily married since 1958, with a married son and daughter, a married granddaughter and an adult grandson. Hobbies rock-climbing, dinghy racing and ocean racing. Still regularly working out in the gym.
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