I was going to call this "The Age Of Consent Intent", but you can't mess with the titles apparently because it mucks up the "link". Anyway, being well past the age of consent it doesn't matter really because this is all about intent. Mine!
I've just had a great ten days. It included some really long flights. Hong Kong to Dubai to Washington, then to New York and straight to Beijing before heading back to Hong Kong. And it provided that most deadly sin ... thinking time. Always a dangerous pastime as you sit, bored out of your brains because you can't take in another word from the papers or the movies, and you can't sleep any more.
I must say, I do think about the future - quite a lot as it happens. Well let's face it, there's not much point contemplating the past is there - you can't do anything about it! But this last journey seemed to provide more such time than usual. Perhaps it's an "age" thing - the future - or what's left of it.
I have long considered the fact that I've never truly grown up - I've just learnt how I should behave in public. And I have tried to maintain at least mentally an "age" profile closer to my waist size (in inches!) rather than a chronological age.
All that said, and just because these last ten days were particularly good fun - if you exclude the eight hour flight delay out of Beijing on Wednesday night - doesn't mean I've gone off on an adrenalin high that will disappear as quickly as it apparently came. Although on that subject my children will probably tell you I used to be (now come on guys - used to be) subject to mood swings, but this whole "aging" thing brings a really different perspective to many things.
I acknowledge I am a fortunate individual - on too many fronts to discuss here, and I know it. I also know I'm not perfect - far from it indeed - but I am surrounded by a fascinating world that is so full I sometimes don't know where to turn next. From the growth of the Asian, Latin American and African continents to the amazing and sometime worrying advances in technology. To a world where no one knows what a bank will look like in 10 years time - other than to be darn sure it's not going to look much like it does today. Where what we eat might eventually come in packets like sweets (now that bit I'm sure I won't like!). Where people change, develop and hopefully are able to fend for themselves, given the right help and encouragement. And I want to continue to be a part of it for as long as I can. Until I am physically and mentally unable to continue.
Life is not fair, I know, so I am being selfish, but for me it is a truly exciting world out there and there are things I can do to help others.
I know there are people who think, "Why is this old bloke hanging on - and taking a job opportunity away from a younger person?" Well, if I could teach that younger person all I know about the people I deal with, know and have experience of dealing with, and give them the grey hairs I have accumulated over 50 years of work, then fine - they can have my job! But I cannot do that in a series of 6 weekly sessions. It is just not practical. I can encourage, I can coach, I can mentor, I can support and hopefully provide them with some of the tools they will themselves need in later life, but there is no substitute for experience.
And I have friends who say - when are you going to slow down - you don't have to work at the pace you do. And that is precisely the beauty of it all. No, I don't have to - I want to. And frankly I don't fancy the alternative:
Of course, there are increasing numbers of people like me, who do want to carry on. And then there is my dear old Mother of whom I have written previously - in her 94th year according to the Western method of reckoning - who is really worried that I might one day lose my job! "And what will you do then, dear?" she asks.
I love being at home, but I also enjoy being out and about. Being an active part of the world is my hobby. It's a balance, isn't it? And I love it! Perhaps I should have called this "The Age Of Satisfaction".
But "Intent" will do nicely, until someone knocks me on the head and says, "Enough is enough!"