‘A near-death experience changed my life outlook on life’

Oct 02, 2020
Brian has a new outlook on life. Source: Getty

Why worry? Why worry! A short and deceptively simple sentence, but one that hides a wealth of meaning!

I’ve been enjoying the delights and the dangers of living on this tiny grain of rock for well over 80 years, and it took me nearly all of them before I realised that worrying, in virtually every case, gains you nothing. Not one iota, not a jot, zero whit! So, for the past year or so I have rather radically changed my point of view, on pretty well everything, with a ‘why worry’ attitude, brought on I believe by the fact that I had a near death experience last June when I suffered a burst appendix, requiring emergency surgery, during which my breathing stopped for about 10 minutes.

It was the news of this, received some days after the event, that made me stop, and think very seriously about what stage of life I had reached, the possible amount of time I have left, (years and years as far as I am concerned, but you never know!), and how much time I spent worry about the things going on around me. I eventually decided that the only truly important things to me are Jacqui (my wife for 61 years), our immediate circle of family and friends, and our comfort and safety.

When it boils down, nothing else is really important, especially if you can’t do anything about it. For instance, whichever party gets into power at the next election, we’re still going to be in the same ridiculous boat we’re in now, governed by a gang of people who care a lot more about themselves than they do about me, or anyone else.

Then there’s this pandemic we’re being subjected to at the moment – well it seems that I, at 85 years old, am a prime candidate for cremation. But I feel I’ve had a terrific crack of the whip for all these years, lucky in love, with three terrific children, a good home in a great little town in Gippsland, and still in full possession of my faculties, if not my physique.

At least I can still enjoy writing my bits of rubbish for Start at 60, and take an active interest in what’s going on in our town; plus, I can still enjoy sitting out on the veranda on a warm summer’s afternoon, sipping a gin and tonic, eating the occasional biscuit made by Jacqui and enjoying the company of our three cats. What more could a bloke ask for? In fact, I believe I have discovered the greatest secret of all, for happy, trouble-free living, providing you have the basics I’ve mentioned above: live your life one day at a time and look at each day as a bonus!

Most people have likely spent many years up till now, planning their future and worrying whether it’s all going to work out or not. I certainly have. Well, once like me, you get into your 80s, you’ve either succeeded, or you haven’t, and there’s not a lot you can now do about that, so, why worry!

Look at the exterior of your house; it could really do with a lick of paint couldn’t it, but it’s too big a job for you to handle, with the arthritis you suffer from in most joints, and it’s much too expensive to get a professional in, so, why worry! You’ll certainly be long gone before the house falls down. And the car seems to go just as well as it did before you last gave it a service, (now long overdue for the next one), doesn’t it, so, why worry!

We all tend to spend more time looking for non-active, non-dangerous pastimes as we get older so we do rather less of them, which also means less wear and tear on us as well! Consequently, things that used to wear out quite quickly now last a lot longer and are much less likely to be a nuisance, so, why worry!

I’m sure you get my drift by now. Give yourself the luxury of carefully considering each new problem as it comes along and work out whether worrying about it is going to make any difference; if not, why worry!

Sue's sassy!

She became a member of Starts at 60 and got access to amazing travel deals, free masterclasses, exclusive news and features and hot member discounts!

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