MacPhail – week 05

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As touched on briefly in my article from January 3, occasions such as New Year, birthdays and anniversaries are catalysts for reflecting on our life progress set against the unchanging and unmovable motion of time.  A common aspect of that reflecting process is the feeling that time is running out.

Most people at some points in their lives are susceptible to the wee growling self-created gremlin chastising them for not having done this or done that and “where have the last 20, 40 or 70 years gone?”

A great tonic for such futile worries is meeting those who despite being at the higher end of the age spectrum are as enthusiastic for life and as excited for new projects and the future as the most vigorous teenager.

The three octogenarians who were the main guests at Carmichael’s Ceilidh, (covered in last week’s article) – John Carmichael himself, Alasdair Gillies and Fergie MacDonald – are all shining examples of people who seem to be paying little attention to their age in years and continue to exude the charisma and energy that made them stars in the respective fields throughout their careers.

In the last couple of weeks by unrelated coincidence I have had contact with both Fergie and John. When you speak to these guys, even on the phone, their energy and excitement is such that when you put the phone down it feels like you’ve just had a treble espresso, a can of Red-Bull and pep-talk from Churchill.

At the age of 81 new endeavours and different career directions are generally low down on the priority list of most.  Not so with Fergie! New tunes, possible single releases and growing his portfolio of published books reflecting the addition of being a writer to his wide range of already mastered pursuits are all in the pipeline.  This enthusiasm is not to say Fergie is blind to his own mortality. Conversely having gone through a major bypass operation a few years ago, he is very aware of how lucky he is to be in good health and I think that is a key ingredient to much of the type of optimistic energy that people like Fergie have.

None of us knows how long we are going to have in this life, so when we are here we may as well approach it with positivity.  The futility of worrying that time is running out is borne out by the fact that whether we are 18, 40, 60 or 81, what is gone is gone, what is done is done and the important thing is that we have our whole lives ahead.  That life ahead may be one day or it may be many decades but never will we know. Right up to that unknown time, we have the chance to try new things and to follow the winds of fulfilment and happiness.

If I am lucky to make it to my eighties, I hope I still have the energy to be writing new tunes and trying new careers!  Slàinte Fergie!