I’ll be 74 next month. Which is fine by me. I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll barely feel a day over…ooh…73? 90? 60? Depending on the circumstances at the time.
But there’s no denying it’s a reminder that you’ve done your allotted three score and ten, and while I have no intention (and there’s no indication) of shuffling off anytime soon, I am certainly more aware of my own demise than I was say 20 years ago.
And that’s also fine. It is what it is. Although I’d certainly prefer it hung off for a while: my kids still seem quite keen on having me around and I try not to disappoint them.
But I must say that today’s discussion of apprenticeship, and the idea that we never truly master life, has unsettled me. The obvious extension of that – that death is the Master’s ticket – has all sorts of implications that will take a bit of thinking over.
Does it mean, for example, that unsatisfactory apprentices fail the test and leave without the ticket? It wouldn’t seem fair, at least to me, if Ted Bundy and Mother Theresa got the same qualification. But that gives rise to another question. I say it doesn’t seem fair ‘to me’, but I am not the judge here. I don’t know the criteria for passing the test.
As appalling as it was, did Ted Bundy have to do what he did? Having watched his final interview, I could ask whether Mr Bundy was sent here with a purpose: to shock the world into realising the dangers of pornography.
Whether I personally believe that is beside the point, as is the all-too-obvious fact that the world didn’t learn the lesson. The real crux of the matter is that if we are apprentices, what do we need to do in this life to qualify for a Master’s ticket? Do we all have to pass the same tests? Do some of us have a specific job to do? Are some people on their second-go round, with a few passes already up their sleeves?
And the big question of course, is what next? Once you have your Master’s ticket, what then? Nothingness? Start again? Elysian fields? A dream reincarnation? Every religion known to man has an answer to this question, which is in itself confusing when each one thinks theirs is the one true faith. The corollary to which is that a percentage of us are damned by default. Although I’m not sure what the implications of that are either.
I can only hope tomorrow’s prompt is simpler.