Age - well over half way to the grave, not that I'm particularly worried about that - gives me an ever increasing appreciation of Buddhism which makes me quite optimistic about reincarnation and nights of insomnia see me pondering what I might come back as ... I'd be happy with two fully functioning legs ... or four if I'm a contented Labrador who loves to run through the fields, spending the rest of the day snoozing, eating and patrolling a large garden ... which would be fine by me .... and I don't think I've been anywhere near bad enough to return as a cockroach or the like.
Booze has also been knocked on the head. Not sure how long that will last but as I learned while living in Saudi Arabia it is easy to do and I don't miss it at all. I still go down the pub to engage in amusing conversation, play pool and pick music off the juke box while drinking pints of juice mixed with water. It's just that I really do not want to go home pissed anymore and I'm enjoying the clear head of sobriety.
Not drinking in a Czech pub - a nation that consistently tops the world league table for drinking beer - elicits a quizzical response from the natives: "Are you sick?" It also allows me to look at those same guys through clear eyes while they drink like there's no tomorrow, even if they've got work.
The conclusion is similar to Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man which I once taught to classes of Chinese students, albeit condensed into an evening rather than a lifetime. The first two beers are drunk in grouchy silence, melancholy surrounding every slurp. By number three they have cheered up and begin talking, ever more effusive as four and five are plonked down in front of them by a weary barmaid. Six, seven and eight provoke an endless babble of nonsense and boasting, the speaker becoming Supermanesque, confidence fully fortified. At this stage people around will either get up and move or tell him to shut the fuck up, which infuriates the serious boozer, unable to comprehend anyone not hanging on his every word. By nine and ten the mood darkens and bitchiness replaces the earlier bonhomie when grudges and prejudices come to the fore and insults are made. After that it's up to the drinker's constitution as to how long he can carry on before the slumped journey home muttering angrily to himself. Just an observation.
I've also knocked smoking weed on the head mainly because after a year's consistent spliffing it up I got a heavy chesty cough which was keeping me up at night and leaving me worryingly short of breath. I've even de-potted my two cannabis plants and rather than chuck them out they are now drying for future use to make tea. Also due to the fact that I used chicken shit fertiliser that made the flat stink. And I'm now going to attempt quitting smoking cigarettes but I'll play that slowly and am illogically pleased that I've cut down to less than a pack a day because with all the crap going on in the world I reckon that's enough to be going on with.