Some more extracts from Jane Miller’s book….
‘…memory is so erratic and unreliable in most of what it delivers from the past, so partisan, so vulnerable to imagination, so malleable that if we look to it to deliver what we ask of it, it usually fails. At its best it seems to function in an involuntary or undetectable way, as something like an extension of our nerves and blood and senses, yielding up pictures, scenes, a kind of newsreel of images and events, though rarely on demand. I am puzzled that memory is so much better at unhappiness than happiness.
…Now I know practically nothing at all. Everything that I do know swims in a flush of ignorance, about which, at least, I am clear. So that now, when I feel a disquisition coming on me, I hold back, I even stutter, for fear that at the crunch moment, the particular name or word on which my story or case or argument depends will suddenly fly out of my head…only to be retrieved by accident some hours later.
…I am always, and often uncomfortably, aware of being an old person in the eyes of the young, of my difference, of how the young may think of me…it isn’t painful; it is simply a consequence of remembering of how I thought of the old when I was young.
So sometimes, yes, I imagine horror, ridicule, indifference…but also with trepidation at the meaning of old age for them.
…Old age confers a delicious privacy in public places. There is something absurd, I suppose, in the thoughts that only in old age may women sit comfortably alone among people they don’t know, happily ignored, unwatched and free, though I have to confess that I still hate sitting alone in cafes or restaurants..
…there are pleasures as well as trials in living with someone else, as I have done for fifty four years. I have to admit that if I glory in my invisibility, it is within the safety of a constant companionship as well as friendships of all kinds.
….We all sidle up to the fact of death and then retreat, looking at our own shoes perhaps, not knowing even what it is that we do don’t know and want to know. Funerals remind us that we have only one go at life, and that this is the beginning of an eternal absence’.
My thanks for a book that takes a refreshing and honest look at ageing; one purpose of these blogs. It’s well worth a read.