I never knew Dad’s dad: he died before I was born. Like his father, he was a printer by trade, but developed cataracts and had to stop work. As I understand it, that meant the oldest few of his 10 kids, and dad was second eldest, had to leave school and go out to work to help support the family.
Dad’s mum was
a cook in a flash house in London (according to a history written by one of my uncles), who made sure that although her family didn’t have much, they never went without.
Dad’s mum died as a result of injuries sustained in 1967 when she was mugged. Her handbag had only a few shillings in it.
Dad was a smoker all his life, obviously went through tough times as a kid, born in London just before World War One ended, and was captured by the Japanese in the Fall of Singapore in February 1942. He then spent several years in prisoner of war camps in Thailand.
It’s not too surprising then that he died before he was 80.
In short: dad and his parents all died fairly young, for one reason or another.
Mum’s family, on the other hand, are long-lived. Mum died a few days before her 95th birthday, her sister turns 95 soon. Her parents both lived into their late 80s too.
Mum’s dad was a London bus driver. I don’t know what my grandma did, but my aunt tells me my grandma’s mum died in her 40s and my grandma had to help with the rest of the family.
Mum was a typist during the war.
I’ve been digging into this background because I turned 60 the other day, and while those birthdays that end in zero often feel like the end of something, this one felt more like a beginning. I’ve coined a personal hashtag: TheNext40, referring to this new period in my like — the next 40 years.
I figure since mum’s side of the family lived well into their 80s and 90s I have a good chance of living to 100. That gives me 40 more years to enjoy life.
I checked a web page that reckons the time between two dates and it came up with a bit over 14,500 days left if I live till my hundredth birthday.
The hashtag TheNext40 is turning out to be quite a motivator for me. Yesterday I was going to cut the dog walk a little short but TheNext40. I didn’t feel like eating salad with dinner but TheNext40. I was looking at snacks and drinks take take on a longish drive and TheNext40.
TheNext40 is on my mind. The world is full of possibilities and I have 40 years to make the most of them, aiming for good health and happiness. What can I do with TheNext40?