I'm now sixty-one.
No, it's not just a number, it's a voice in my head, saying: "Are you ready to pay attention yet? That future you used to have, you've spent almost all of it. Waddaya gonna do with what's left?"
I have no idea why some of the voices in my head speak like that. I'm English and reasonably well educated. Why should a voice in my head say "waddaya"?
Still, the voice has a point. I need to make some choices. The thing is that I've lived with myself for long enough now to know that choices are already being made. What I do next seems to get sorted out somewhere deep inside my head while I'm focusing on other things. If I didn't know better, I'd say the voices in my head are taking turns distracting me with prompts to make a rational analysis while they put a plan together that they'll tell me about later.
I hope they don't make a mess of it.
Figuring out what's going on in my head is something I've found I have to do indirectly. It's closer to reading signs and portents than getting a response to an email.
When I find my attention snagged by something new, I know from experience that I should ask myself, "Why did my subconscious make my attention come to rest on THIS today?"
The first new (or at least, new to me) thing was a poem by A E Housman called, "Yonder See The Morning Blink"
It captures a feeling that's been coming upon me more and more, especially in the pre-dawn dark of winter mornings: "Why am I STILL doing this?"
I worked it out. Unlike Housman, it's not "Ten thousand times I've done my best". That's only twenty-seven years. Even if I only count my working life, I'm up there at fourteen thousand times and not done yet.
There are days when all I want to do is follow the example of the retired couple in "Last Tango In Halifax" and spend my days "farting about doing bugger all".
I think that's the desire that my head was using Housman's poem to surface.
There are also days when I ask myself, why bother at all? Why not just withdraw? Or stop? Or sulk?
Why put up with aching when I wake, with diminished stamina and declining appetites, with bureaucracy that never stops and never learns, with a world turned blind and unkind?
Perhaps alarmed that I might become a hermit or perhaps just wanting me to grow up and get on with the plan they haven't shared with me yet, the voices in my head sent me another poem This time something wonderful that I cannot believe I've never seen before: "Spellbound" by Emily Bronte.
I'm sure this poem has many meanings. That's part of what makes it wonderful. To me, right now, it's a reminder that, even in the gathering gloom, there is splendour. All I have to do is stay around long enough and keep my eyes open enough to let it work its spell.
So, my decoding of the messages so far reads: even though all's to do again, I will not, cannot go.
Instead, I'll wait for whatever is going to happen next and be glad that I'm still here to find out what it is.