What a sweet feeling it was to be bluntly told “…ah sure, you’re only a young fellah!” As I look down the barrel of 61, that made me smile. You can only nod and smile when an octogenarian puts you in your humble age place. And I remembered, too, neighbour and dairy farmer Jim at 88 telling me much the same, “You’re only a lad,” he said, and I reminded myself that when I was born they were at the age I was when I set out to cycle the world. They’ve seen it all and I know that beneath their wry replies they were telling me gently that at 61 there’s plenty time to do crazy things and reinvent yourself, given a bit of vision, desire and good health.
So let’s hear it for a genuine Irish octogenarian heroine, Dervla Murphy, a friend, still at her writing desk, reading, reviewing, encouraging, campaigning, and indeed every other elder.