80th Birthday Blues Joe Hobart, Tasmania - WirSindDu

80th Birthday Blues

I mean...the 12-bar blues form… not the melancholy.

Joe Blake, Tasmania

2. January 2019

I'm 78.

When I was in my forties, my painting teacher, whose wisdom I trusted, said people tend to get more and more set in their ways the older they get. So I made up my mind right then to not do this, to stay open minded.

Yes, by the numbers I'm “old” --

however, I do not feel old and I do not believe in “old age” as a concept, and that is all it is.

So keep your mind open — always a little more open than is comfortable.

But, as always, love is the real answer! Enjoy life!

Oh, and look after your teeth. Go to the dentist more often!

15. November 2020

On January 2, 2021, less than 7 weeks away,

I will have lived 80 years on this earth since my birth. So they say. 😉 The photographs prove it, don’t they? Well, no, they show an object – my body – in various disguises, but the real me – unchanged – looks out with great curiosity from within! As Awareness.

Be careful! Don’t define yourself as “old”. Here’s a quote from author GregoryDay:

"... And the recognition which has never ceased to visit me of the helplessness of men. Ordinary men.

Thinking of my grandfather,

who I hardly knew at all, I remembered how (believing it!) he played the stock character of “the old man”, and, how so many men allow themselves to be carried along by the “irrevocable flow of time”, accepting age, changing their behavior to the stylized model of “old man”. No, thanks.

I've watched the older generation of men

as I approached their decade, almost like I was entering their club! I decided each time – 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and soon the 80’s – NOT to do it their way. Pretty much how a young man will reject his father’s way of living. 

Nope. Create something new!

There IS no need to play at being "an Old Man"!

I used to act it out when I was a kid, and also as a young man: stooped over, smacking toothless gums as I held a trembling walking stick. Mumbling senile rubbish. It was a good act at the time!


Drawing by Joe Blake

2. January 2021

This morning, this body awoke to believe itself eighty years old, because its birth certificate is dated 2nd January 1941. Exactly 80 years ago! I thought I’d celebrate by improvising a blues on my piano, which is 105 years old.

Today, by the calendar, I turn 80.

I am neither old nor young. It is a beautiful early summer day, and the leaves on the trees are moving slowly, as if underwater! The shadows of the trees on the road, from the kitchen window, make like bar code stripes, now my eyes see the electric wires curving in a perfect catenary from nearly vertical poles. … On the sofa, tapping, typing, this verbal picture. … Sounds. A fly buzzes by my ear, mixing with the sound of a television upstairs and a car passing. It’s 11:15 in the morning and I still haven’t had breakfast – I’ve been video calling with my daughter (she’s in England, I’m in Australia) for a couple of hours.

 Life is, life IS. I hear the washing machine shaking – together with the sound of TV dialogue upstairs. Life is coming in familiar forms. Life is. Now. …

How are you? I hope you and your family are well. My wife has gone for a Covid test. (Result: negative.) Feeling okay but wanted to be sure, if we have guests for a birthday party, and it’s our live-with-us daughter’s birthday too! Funny times we are all sharing right now aren’t they?

But being alive - BEING - is good, and it's enough. It is. I wanted to share with you, what life is like on this very day, from the perspective of one sitting on the 80th milestone.

Joseph Blake

‘Artist’, ‘musician’, ‘sailor’.
Curious about Being!
I can say with genuine amazement:
“Being alive is the strangest thing that ever happened to me.”

I write a blog, called Stop thinking NOW! Go into the Silence – it’s about what you see when you stop thinking and doing, shut up and listen. This blog has as its theme “The spaces between thoughts – meditative moments”. I continue to be open to such moments!

I wrote another blog during our cruise across the Pacific, and if you’re curious about what it’s like to live aboard a sailing boat for years and to cross oceans, you can read all about it.


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