Mind your head

Ready for my second cappucino I walked downstairs at Costa’s ducking below the low beam. At the counter I picked up the coffee and the glass of water I’d asked for. I carefully lifted both the cup and glass and walked towards the stair to go back up to my seat.

I was impressed with how steady my hands were and said to myself “Not bad for a 49 year old … nearly at my half-century … it’s all downhill from here”. I caught myself in the unhelpful thought and lifted my head in time to read the warning sign on the low beam I had ducked earlier.

“Please mind your head”

It would have been better if it had said:

“Please mind the inside of your head”

Which seems to me to be much more useful advice. How often are you minding the inside of your head for unhelpful thoughts and predictions.

Years ago I listened to a program early one Sunday morning on Radio 4. The interviewer was talking to a bee farmer who was reminisicing about her various experiences. She was now in her eighties and had enjoyed a very full life. The presenter looked around her sitting room at the various souveniers of holidays she had had. His eye came to rest on a photograph on the mantlepiece, a photo of the woman waterskiing on Lake Windermere. He asked about it.

“Oh, yes!”, she said, “that was my 80th birthday present”.

“Wow” replied the presenter, “you’ve done all these amazing things what is the best thing you have ever done in your life?”.

“Oh, I don’t think like that” she said “as far as I’m concerned the best is always ahead of me!”

After a stunned silence the presenter said: “That is the single most optimistic think I have heard in my life”

It’s certainly a lot better than “it’s all downhill from here …”

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