25 year Guarantee

I am a grown up. Last week we bought a kitchen. Well, I say bought… we took an interest free loan out to have some bits of prefabricated wood and particleboard and screws and stuff delivered to our home in a few years time.

It’s exciting to carry out these small efforts to make a house a home. Can’t believe it has taken us eight years to get round to modifying our kitchen; a place that should (in my head and heart) be the centre of the home.

One of the things that struck me when we “bought" our kitchen last week was that it came with a 25 year guarantee. This seems such an unfathomable period of time but also as someone rapidly approaching 50 (over half a lifetime!) is it really that far away? Also it made me think about my own life expectancy. Obviously it comes with no guarantees but will I be around to see our kitchen guarantee expire?

For some reason this figure has stuck in my head. And given me a great deal of perspective. I am fortunate. I have had friends my age die. Close family members die. Some had a good innings (whatever that is). Others less so - their opportunities in life dramatically and so unfairly curtailed. “Before their time” is a phrase we hear a lot - as if we all have a particular Best Before Date marked somewhere on our body, perhaps with a QR code that links to a Instagram Story to show us how to live our best life…

And then I think about how unlucky I am - to be 48 and have a life-limiting chronic illness that means I cannot face life with the gusto I used to. That pacing myself is a term I have had to add to my vocabulary but yet cruelly that when I don’t, I fail to have the vocabulary to articulate how debilitated I feel.

It also has made me think about what I want to get out of life. To be honest more of the same whilst I still can. And for some people that will mean making substantial life changes. Take up yoga. Drink less. Eat more healthily. Exercise more. Meditation. Listen to podcasts on meditation. Declutter. “Focus on the important things.”

For me it’s feels a bit more fuck it. Maybe the important things are right in front of you. The getting drunk with friends. Or alone. The frivolous bet on a football match. The idle doodling in a notepad margin during a business meeting. The thrill of not putting your recycling out one week.

Selfish I know. But I want to enjoy life whilst I still can. Not just for me. For my friends and family that no longer can. I want to be an ambassador for abandon. Is it so wrong I like a drink? Is it wrong that I don’t feel obliged to join the other 40-somethings that have taken up the gym and running in a mad dash to run away from their own mortality. Is it wrong to squeeze a few more years out of a life whilst you still can?

Sorry - this isn’t really a post about kitchens. Or guarantees. But thinking about kitchens (and guarantees) has made me think about what I enjoy in life and the importance of being able to enjoy it whilst I still can. And I have to say I’ve found this perspective quite liberating.