Being able to finish a book is one of my pleasures in lockdown life. Like many people, in the previous pre-pandemic existence termed ‘normal’, I would hardly have time to finish reading a book. I have bookshelves littered with half-read books. In fact, some are quarter-read books. I was time-poor, in my defence. Perhaps my inability to stop and absorb the written word which was not a newspaper article and move into a world of words bound up in a book was part of the reason for my midlife crisis.
I have read a number of books in lockdown and, today finished one of the most awe-inspiring books on ageing. Nora Ephron may be dead but her delightful insight on the milestones that make up our lives on the way to becoming middle-aged spoke to me. In, ‘I feel bad about my neck’, the world-famous American journalist wrote about having regrets in life and the push back that comes from a society that seeks to make a positive out of everything.
“…although I can certainly understand that no one really wants to read anything that says aging sucks”. It’s on page 191.
She goes on to write about how our generation has learned to believe that we can do anything, even turning a negative into a positive. “We are positive thinkers. We have the power. We will take any suggestion seriously.
” I don’t know whether Nora Ephron is being literal or tongue in cheek when she wrote those sentences but in the next pages she talks about death. One reaches a certain age and friends start to die. I myself lost a friend last week to Covid. She was only in her mid-50s.
There is so much more about the book that is funny and witty but I recognise the honesty in it about how growing older just sucks. While I enjoy that confidence and sass which only comes with being a midlifer, there are times when I wish I was younger. Sometimes I just want to scream at stuff like ‘positive ageing’, just sometimes. But most of the time, I am just grateful to be alive especially now in a time like I have never before experienced.