Getting out of bed is a test. Not the horizontal -> vertical bit. That’s OK. But when the cold wind doth blow, even though we shan’t have snow (which is nasty cold wet stuff I have desire to encounter ever again) the temptation to hide my head under the blanket in lieu of a wing and stay there for the duration is almost irresistible. And really, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t, except that I’d be failing the test called starting the day. Or facing the day. Or living each day to the full. Whatever.
I do sometimes wonder why we humans keep testing ourselves – mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically… Perhaps it’s a subconscious, atavistic knowledge that as a species, we’re not as well equipped for life on this earth as – say – polar bears, or elephants, or tigers, or fleas, or cockroaches, so we have to keep proving ourselves to maintain the fantasy of superiority. It’s very tiresome.
I also find it tiresome that those who acquit themselves well in physical tests gain far more kudos that those who excel mentally. Win a Nobel Prize and you might have a nice dinner at the White House. Win an International Piano Competition and nobody even knows who you are. Win the Super Bowl or an Olympic medal or two and you’re wreathed in glory: thousands of cheering fans, ticker tape parades, triumphal motorcades, you name it. Is this fair, I ask?
Today (October 1 here) is the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, which is a test in itself but not for the reasons you might think. The population is ageing, they say gravely. Well of course it is. It’s what we do from the minute we’re born. We get older. Which isn’t what they mean, of course, but only the older persons themselves are likely to be picky enough to argue about sloppy expression, so who cares? But what I really find testing is the Older Persons label. It’s so objective, so distancing. Call me an old woman, a grumpy old lady, a tough old bat, call us all old people, but do not pop me in a box called Older Persons and expect me to feel acknowledged, let alone grateful.
Did I get out of bed for this?