Rupert Cox: The marathon of life

Rupert Cox is the CEO of the Royal Bath and West Society (c) Jeremy Long / JCL PHOTOGRAPHY

Rupert Cox is the CEO of the Royal Bath and West Society (c) Jeremy Long / JCL PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

This month our contributor ponders the process of getting older

Your age might be just a number, but I am reaching that time in my life when although it might be so, I seem to be counting those numbers far more quickly than I would like!

I remember many moons ago when my sage of a father-in-law told me that as you get older, time seems to go by faster and I thought he was bonkers. A bright eyed and bushy tailed 22-year- old, I was starting out on my adult life with his daughter on my arm thinking that everything happened at a pedestrian pace; people worked so slowly and everything seemed to take an eternity to happen – I was in a hurry!

In the intervening 35 years a lot has happened with losses and gains along the way; I am in my third different career, have been married for over a third of a century to the same delightful beauty, have gained two children (the oldest of whom is 30 in April), lost my effervescent mother and the aforementioned sage, have gained two grandchildren, but have lost too much hair, and what is left is rapidly changing colour.

I have a father knocking on the door of 90, a big sister who is denying she is now in her 70th decade, an older brother getting used to retirement and a baby sister who is about to clock half a century. I used to run everywhere; now I walk, I used to sprint everywhere when playing cricket; now I saunter, I used to eat and drink too much; now I HAVE to diet! What is going on? I can’t possibly be that old!

I now experience déjà vu on a regular basis as my children hanker for a faster career path; more time for this, that and t’other; and more money to go here, there and everywhere. Even in my working life I see the exuberance of youth all around me as young people starting their professional lives seem to eat the workload in front of them without a care in the world, but they, like my own children, are in a hurry. They all want to earn more, do more and live more – how exciting that must be. Little do they know, thankfully, that ‘father time’ will eventually get them, nibbling away at the clock of life to the point when metaphorically, time really does fly.

The conveyor belt of life is a fascinating phenomenon. Little does my second grandchild, December born Betsy May Cox, know what is ahead of her, although I hope I can offer her the same sage-like advice about living life with patience without thwarting the natural verve and vigour young people possess. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. It is equally as reassuring to witness the enthusiasm for life which the octogenarians in my family exude, giving me hope that while I am more than halfway through my journey on this planet, there is still plenty to do and see – but I’ve got to get on with it!

Rupert Cox is the CEO of the Royal Bath and West Society. For more from Rupert, follow him on Twitter! @rupert_rbw