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Getting through the day

Part of the trouble with monitoring the world’s media for matters impacting upon or potentially affecting those of us over a certain age can, of course, be the occasional confusion or puzzlement the practice can induce.

Recently I have come across a couple of items which hopefully may be of interest to Rusters but also simultaneously had this effect.

Let me expand.

I pen these words as someone who would never class himself as a loner though nevertheless by choice neither gets out nor socialises much, tending to regarding these as a comparative waste of my valuable time.

Probably three decades ago now a captain of industry once told me when addressing the issue of setting up a new company:

Remember that, if you possibly can, you should avoid employing anyone: people inevitably mean problems”.

(In hindsight I am not sure whether he was being realistic and practical or alternatively was just a visionary of the future who had presciently spotted the far-reaching potential of 21st Century robotics and artificial intelligence).

I guess that when (if ever) I contemplated my ‘retirement’ years I naturally presumed that they would be spent with the worries of the world left behind and consist simply of an eternal summer of travel, sports-watching, and general state of relaxed “doing what I pleased” until at some point the Grim Reaper tapped me on the shoulder and hauled me off the pitch.

Things never quite work out as you dreamed, do they?

Instead, as a sexagenarian, it seems that you wake up with say four things you want to achieve – and then, from about 0900 hours, business opens with an endless succession of requests from others to do and/or get involved in “stuff”, all of which leave you at the end of the day having ‘potted’ just one of them.

Yesterday I alighted upon a report in the media about some research project into old age which concludes that, once you hit sixty, socialising is one of the best ways to keep your brain sharp and thereby stave off dementia.

Some of the attendant findings were telling. Apparently, statistically about 7% of people over sixty-five have dementia. (I am sixty-seven so presumably by extrapolation there’s a 93% chance that I haven’t).

However, the study demonstrates that – whilst some effects of ageing are impossible to combat – by improving your social contacts you can reduce that dementia percentage by 1% to 6% because it builds both cognitive reserve and greater brain resilience and also reduces neurodegenerative damage.

I emerged from reading these findings with the thought that maybe my current mode is indeed wrong or ill-advised, in the sense that hitherto I had fondly imagined that if only I could cut myself off from the world and rid myself so far as possible with contact with others, I would reach a state of wondrous Nirvana in which (my idea of Heaven) I could just relax and please myself.

On the other hand, of course, one might take the view that the increased 1% risk of developing dementia might be a price worth paying, partly on the basis that – once you do have dementia – presumably you haven’t got much clue any more as to what’s going on around you anyway, so who cares?

Separately, on the website of the Daily Mail today, I spotted a short item on the findings of a survey of 2,000 people by carpet and sofa specialist ScS that suggests that there’s a discrepancy between men and women when it comes to taking daily naps.

Apparently, 13% of men – and here I should perhaps declare that I am one of them – take a daily nap compared with only 6% of women.

Then again, 25% of woman say that they have never taken a daily nap, against 16% of men.

Commenting on this finding Lisa Artis, a Sleep Council adviser, said “A power nap of 20 to 30 minutes is sufficient to turn off the nervous system and recharge the whole body and improve alertness. Any longer is enough to put you in a deep sleep and leave you groggy when you awake.”

I don’t know anything about any of that.

When I retire in the late morning – or alternatively after lunch – I simply put my head on the pillow and sleep for anything between the aforementioned 20 to 30 minutes and two hours.

However long I do sleep for, I suspect that it would be fair to admit I am probably somewhat groggy when I awake and return to real life, but at least the practice permits me to stay alert long enough to then retire for the night at about 8.00pm most evenings.

Mind you, of course, I’m pretty groggy permanently these days so most people I bump into wouldn’t probably notice the difference anyway!


About Arthur Nelson

Looking forward to his retirement in 2015, Arthur has written poetry since childhood and regularly takes part in poetry workshops and ‘open mike’ evenings. More Posts