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At the age of ten life seems simple, it's all about running jumping and climbing trees. By eighteen you have discovered the opposite sex, alcohol and nightclubs. By twenty five you are your own person, confident and full of life. Suddenly you hit thirty. You find yourself questioning your choices from the years that have past, feeling slightly left on the shelf, wondering where your life is heading, juggling family and friends and faced with ever aging parents. You are not alone, welcome to 30 years and countinga sideways look at life in your thirties.

Building a fence and aging parents

There has been a lack of posts over the last week hasn’t there? Sorry about that folks but I have been kind of busy. I must admit that in part it is due to the fact I have been playing a lot of Brink on the Xbox but I have also been down the job centre with Tom, mowed Maz's garden and played host to a rather drunk Julie, Arthur and little Lacie over the weekend (obviously  Lacie wasn’t drunk). The bulk of my week however has been taken up with working with my Dad to build a new fence.

The story starts a few weeks ago when my parent’s next-door neighbour didn’t collect his milk bottles from the doorstep and my Dad went round to investigate only to find him dead in the kitchen. Turns out that he dropped dead from a heart attack at sixty seven. That is just two years old than my Dad which shocked us all more that his actual death. While the recently deceased’s next of kin fight over who gets the house my Dad decided that while the house was sitting empty he would put up a new fence.

Originally he was going to hire someone to do it but with Arthur (my sister’s boyfriend) being a builder and the price of materials being seven times cheaper it was decided that we would do it ourselves.

My Dad has always been an active man. He has been a manual worker all of his life. Big and strong. However now in his sixties his strength is going and his ability to bend over is too. This meant that the job of cutting down all of the trees that lined the path of the new fence fell to me. While it was nice to work with my Dad for a few days and make small talk about various things while being supplied with a constant flow of coffee from my Mum I must admit that it was shocking at just how much he now can’t do for himself. You never really think of your parents as being old and tend to hold them in the mould of what they were like when you grew up. To find that you can now work harder and lift more than your Dad is kind of unsettling. For example when the fence turned up we had to carry it from the garage to the garden and while I knew it would take several trips I didn’t expect that my Dad would need a half hour rest in the middle.

To put us both to shame when Arthur joined us on the third day to put up the new fence he picked up and carried the concrete posts on his own, something which it took both my Dad and I to do the day before. We pushed on and managed to get the whole job done by the end of the day. It was nice to spend a bit more time with Arthur and get to know him a bit better. You are always cautious when your sister meets a new man. It is only natural to be protective of her but the more time I spend with Arthur the more I like him. He seems like a decent good all round guy.

That then was my week. Facing up to the fact my parents are getting old, a nice new fence and a collection of blisters to show for my efforts. How do you feel about the fact your parents are getting older? That they are not as active as they once were? Does it scare you or make you want to make more of the time you have with them? Have you had a similar experience to mine when you have noticed it for the first time? As always I would love to hear your views.

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