by Joan Bakewell
2 Sept 2021
Old age is no longer a blip in the calendar, just a few declining years before the end. Old age is now a major and important part of life: It should command as much thought - even anxiety - as teenagers give to exam results and young marrieds how many children to have . .
. I am in my 80s and moving towards the end of my life. But in a more actual sense, I have moved from my dear home of 50 odd years into another .
. . the home where I will be until the end.
Writing here of how it has happened is in a sense a reconciliation with what cannot be avoided, but which can be confronted When Joan Bakewell, Labour Peer, author and famous champion of the older people's right to a good and fruitful life, decided that she could no longer remain in her old home, she had to confront what she calls 'the next segment of life.' Disposing of things accumulated during a long life, saying goodbye to her home and the memories of more than fifty years, thinking about what is needed for downsizing - all suddenly became urgent and emotional tasks. And then there was managing family expectations. Some new projects such as planning the colours and layout of a new, smaller flat, were exciting and some things - the ridding herself of books, paintings, memento - took courage.
So much of the world is on the move- voluntarily or not - and so many people are living to a great old age. In using the tale of her own life , Joan Bakewell tells us a story of our times and how she is learning to live to the sound and tune of The Tick of Two Clocks: the old and the new.