October 3, 2018
January 8, 2019

I always used to joke with my parents; “Mom, Dad …. at what age?”

At what age do you start collecting small butters and sugar packets from restaurants to take home for “just in case”At what age do you start putting family photographs underneath glass table tops? At what age do you start humming and tapping your toes to elevator music? At what age do you start covering your furniture in old towels and blankets to make them last longerAt what age do you discover doilies? And then At what age do you lose all sense of style and taste and start putting doilies on anything that doesn’t move?

Do you get the point? My thinking was that there must have been an exact age and point in time, when although you don’t feel it, a fundamental change takes place in your brain and your body, whether you like it or not, and your body stops obeying the natural rules and laws that have prevailed up to that point and you start acting … differently.

So – I’d ask and joke with my dear old Dad, a 1942 Ford Pickup, who started doing these strange things to my amusement and he just kept replying, “I don’t’ know, but just wait – your time will come!”

Well, I discovered the age and I think my time has come! For me it was 41.

I noticed that at around that age of 41, the natural laws of nature and functioning of my body changed, and it’s all been downhill since. The hardest part of the transformation is that my mind still writes out cheques that my body simply cannot cash. I make plans and my body just laughs, and then cries out in pain for days.

I wish someone had sent a letter, e-mail or carrier pigeon warning us “weekend warriors” that change was inevitable and that there was absolutely nothing we could do about it. I think the cruellest thing is that our minds are still as sharp as blades and expect everything else to function as usual! I still see myself as a 24-year-old and my thoughts are still that of a 24-year-old, but that strange, grumpy, old, grey dude looking back at me in the mirror looks and feels like Keith Richards. It’s like living in a parallel universe. I used to refer to myself as being 31 and tons of fun – but now I refer to myself as a 1965 Ford Mustang with a few k’s on the clock and a couple of dings in the bodywork.

Getting out of bed in the morning happens in phases. Small movements, creaking and turning over the ignition. In the old days or “younger” days, it would start on command and instantly. Now 53 years on, not so much! There is coughing and spluttering and liberal use of the choke. The groans and aches and pains give way as the blood fills the carburetor and other vital components. I turn the key, clean the sleep and cr4p from my headlights and sit on the edge of the bed, idling and trying not to backfire. Hey I share the room with a 1973 Ferrari GT4 and I feel it only right to control the emission from my exhaust system!

I am sure most women over 40 will agree that one never really takes much notice of gravity until it starts playing havoc on your body parts. When you have to buy firming creams and lotions, supportive underwear and clothing, you know that gravity is not a myth and that life does truly suck! It sucks southwards relentlessly, every day, and in every way!

It seems amazing that before “the age”, (it varies from person to person but my research tells me the time usually comes anywhere between 38 to about 45) everything in our lives seem to be about being, UP! Just listen to kids and young people it’s all about: getting up, climbing up, staying up, being up, feeling up, growing up, living it up, keeping up and then suddenly “it” happens and it all becomes about down. Settling down, quieting down, sitting down, slowing down, calming down, having a lie down, downtime, downgrading, down scaling, downsizing, downhill, downward trends and most body parts start a downward slide.

The first time I noticed that I might need glasses I was standing in an underground tube in London and couldn’t read the giant map on the wall clearly. I must be honest – my initial thought was, “I’m going blind?” 

And I had been warned by an elderly gentleman that your hearing doesn’t go altogether. You’re still able to hear clearly it just seems that the direction finder of where the noise is actually coming from goes on the fritz. This results in me looking around like a special needs person in an attempt to identify exactly where the noise is coming from. Looking around a lot like a lost fart in a perfume factory for the source of the words, I finally discover that the “daddy, daddy, daddy, over here” is actually coming from a condescending teenager, fiercely flapping her arms in the air as if she is bat man parking an aeroplane at OR Tambo only two feet away. This is all done to the amusement of the 21-year-old 1997 Golf GTi, her sister the 2000 Mini and their mother the 1973 Ferrari GT4, to which I can only smile and say, “just wait, your time will come!”

Revenge though will be sweet because the ‘73 Ferrari GT4 is closing in on the age and her time, and I’m gonna remind her of all the jokes, quotes and one liners she’s enjoyed at the expense of this African Grey.

But I digress. At what age, does gravity start winning and when do you put on weight by merely thinking about food? Before the age, I could eat what I wanted and even if I put on a few kilo’s, a few weeks of rigorous exercise had me lean, mean and buffed. But after “the age” everything seems to work backwards, and 6 months of exercise and eating correctly actually had me put on 8 kg!! Exercise seems as much fun as sitting through an episode of Master Chef or staying up later than 22h30.

Everything hurts and it takes 10 times longer to recover and does absolutely nothing to reduce the spare tyre around my waist that I did not order, have no idea where it came from, and have to carry with me every day. My knees buckle but my belt won’t, and putting socks on pushes the tyre into my diaphragm and lungs when I bend over. This makes it impossible to breathe, so you’d better be a formula 1 sock changer or get a pit crew to rotate your footwear.

I actually pulled a muscle in my foot the other day. No it wasn’t a car crash or karate injury I got it “pulling off” … to walk. Yes walk! Not a marathon or a speed walking race. I was waiting for the bus on the apron after getting out of the plane, I tried to take one step and …. I limped home. What is this deal and how bad will it get if you now can pull muscles from just taking a step ?

I was speaking on the phone the other day to a 1965 Shelby and before I knew it an hour had passed and all we’d done was complain about life and compare our medical histories. At what age did this cr4p start happening?

I then had a chat with my Dad to bring some joy to his life when I admitted that my time had now indeed come, exactly as he had predicted. I asked him if this was it, or if there was another age when things began to fall apart even further? He sat me down as only a caring elder could. It took I while because he had to first put his glasses on to find his glasses. He seemed unable to hear me without putting them on, and then looked at me, perhaps also lip-reading a bit, which became a skill after his direction finders went! He smiled a … I told you so smile and said “It’s just the beginning. Welcome to my world. I told you your time would come, and it only gets worse! In fact just the other night your mother said Honey let’s go upstairs and make love and I replied, one or the other, I can’t do both!” He also told me his favorite adult movie is Debbie does Dialysis, and apparently it will now take longer for me to rest than to get tired.

So my time has come, and fortunately I was aware and lucid enough to note the exact time and I now know at what age, and it happened just like my dad said, “your time will come!”

For some of you, your time is still to come and when it does, see me as being from your future. Some of you have had the time, and have already gone through it, coming out on the other side older, slower but wiser. I look forward to your lessons and remedies.

My 17 year old Bugatti was looking through my phone numbers the other day and said, “Dad you’re not sick – so how come you have so many doctors numbers on your phone?” I just smiled and said “because everything that works, hurts and what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work“When does that start Dad?” he asked. “It’s different for everyone my boy, but some day your time will come!

It’s now “our time” to take a break after a great year. Travel safe if you’re going away, and have fun with your family and friends no matter where you find yourself over the festive season. It really doesn’t matter what time you are in, enjoy it all as being part of this interesting thing called LIFE. As long as we are surrounded by loved ones and we can still spot our family in a crowd, we’re okay.

Gavin, Sam and the rest of the Sharples crew

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  1. Rachelle Campbell says:

    What a way to end the year with an inspirational message of reflection and planning for the next year. Thank you Gavin and Sam for enlightening my life with your amazing newsletters and mind-blowing talks. You have been a huge light in my life – travel safe and enjoy every second of this well deserved break!!

    • Ewald says:

      Hi Gavin,
      Absolutely true words spoken and children don’t understand when you ask them to repeat what they said or they say ” I old you this before”!
      I really don’t remember!!!
      Have an awesome Christmas and a fantastic New Year!!

  2. Gaynor Chapman says:

    Good morning Gavin
    Absolutely loved your take on “your time will come”! I had tears streaming down my wrinkled cheeks this morning! Thank you so much. You could have been talking about me.
    Love and Christmas wishes to you and Sam and your team.
    Gaynor :)

  3. Petru says:

    Good morning Gavin and family. I just had the best laugh I had the whole year. Surely because I can relate. Thank you for sharing. Have a blessed Festive Season with family and friends. Regards Petru Middelburg Mpumalanga

  4. DPalla says:

    Thank you Gavin. You really got me thinking?. But hey! it’s good to enjoy the moment while it lasts.Guess with this awareness I will best get prepared when my time’s come.

  5. Mena says:

    Thank you for the wise words, it was worth everybit of reading them. Have a blessed Christmas eve and happy New Year with your family, friends and your team. God bless you all…

  6. fiona says:

    again such a lovely read!!! great stuff Gavin!!!

  7. Dianne says:

    Ha Ha, I am sitting in an office filled with “kids” all at least 10 years younger than me and you had me laughing out loud at some of the things you said! They are probably thinking… she’s losing it, old fart! :)
    Thank you for a wonderful way to start my day and end this year. Hope you have a wonderful break and look forward to reading more next year.

  8. Theresa says:

    Thank you Gavin. I know exactly what you are talking about. The mind says lets go and the body says are you nuts? God bless you and yours. Have a good relaxing rest and wishing you every success for the new year.

  9. Beverley-Ann Fink says:

    Oh my what a tonic reading”your time will come” was . I laughed out loud . Happy holidays and look forward to a wonderful 2019 with more inspirations from you.
    From a 1962 (left hand drive )Veloce Sprint Alfa Romeo

  10. Charmaine Scorgie says:

    I had a colleague who called me Poppy. when I asked him some of these questions he would say “Poppy, you will see when you get to my age”. That always made me laugh.
    Thanks for this and all the wonderful messages Gavin.

  11. GM says:

    Thank you Gavin, our time will come next year. Its an important one for our country. Lets see if the Ferraris and Bugattis and old Fords can run the race on our roads. Its good to reflect and laugh and good will and love to all. Merry Christmas from a 1946 Land Rover, in excellent condition, very valuable vintage model that has done the sand dunes, the mud, pulled others out of being stuck alongside.

  12. Mathapelo says:

    Hi Gavid and the crew. Thank you, thank you so much. I appreciate all the motivational quotes received and the close off was funny and educational, it made me remember my late grand parents they always said the same words. Wish you all an awesome festive season, see you in 2019

  13. Karen Armstrong says:

    Thanks Gavin, irrespective of your age laughter is the BEST medicine!
    As a 63 Cadillac I can so relate to it all (except the socks :))
    Cant wait to share this with the other vintage models I know so well.
    Remember as with everything wine (& people) get better with age!
    Merry Christmas

  14. Franko Pessenbacher says:

    Yes for me getting old is difficult to do gracefully; thankfully we make up for it in wisdom – the problem is i keep forgetting about that.

    Thank you for the awesome perspectives you give Gawie.

    Safe Holidays

  15. Melita says:

    ???? I dont think I’ve ever laughed this much as when I’ve read this newsletter and I’m still laughing? whole Estate must have heard me by now?? Funny enough, the past few weeks I was thinking about the same thing and the new year ahead and getting older (#bonus)?or not? and the challenges and its scary..But sometimes the unexpected do happen at the most unexpected times, especially when being asked by my lil 5 year old girl while we are standing in the queue in Woolies, as she looks at the counter numbers and counts them, she suddenly asks”mommy how old are you” out loud, its funny how all of a sudden a dead silence fills up that store and an innocent lil face with 2 blue eyes staring at me still awaiting on an answer.?? Oh well couldnt be that bad I thought and said to her well mommy still “very young”, I’m now 38 will be 39 next year with a proud smile on my face thinking ok subject closed, no further discussions…oh no…Just as we got closer to the paypoint she looks up at the counter numbers trying to “spot” my age number she turns back to me with a frown and said out loud “mommy you are very old” ending it with a smile on her face!! So I thanked her for the “compliment” and said to her one day you will also be mommies age.. But we know age is just a number and like that movie “still 40” all women are actually still 38 even though we might feel like the Titanic at times that the “ship is sinking”!!?? I think I have def toned the much needed muscles with all the laughter my belly actually hurts??….You must enjoy the moments you cant put into words with your beautiful family this festive season and have a fun filled day with much more laughter! ☀??

  16. Denise says:

    Good morning Gavin –
    Thank you so much for your newsletters, but for this one in particular! Being just short of 72 years, you could have written this one just for me! I read it early this morning and my family came to my room to see if I had lost it completely as I was laughing so hard! I thank God that that is one thing that hasn’t changed – my sense of humour!
    I wish you and your family the Happiest of Christmases – may your oil changes and valve replacements be few and may your exhaust emissions become quieter – (you may also find that you will start involuntarily “puttering” along in the supermarket, so you start coughing a lot to cover the noise of the emissions!)
    Lots of love, from your greatest 1947 Ford (did they have model names then?) fan,

  17. Patricia M says:

    That’s so lovely? from a 1955 model my time came a while ago ? writing this with glasses on as otherwise predictive text tells a different story but I agree surrounded by family is what makes life all worth it bumps and all – thank you and wishing you and your family a great festive season?

  18. Colin McGladdery says:

    Awesome. Enjoy the festive season with family and friends Gavin. Thanks for the smiles, laughs and inspiration.

  19. Lucille Maujean says:

    So very funny Gavin. Yeah, my time has come and going through it. After seeing you at our conference, I can relate to the way I felt the next day, not because I went overboard, it was just a very long evening and thinking like a 20 year old, I couldn’t miss out on the dancing but boy, did I feel it the next day.
    I hope you and your family have an awesome, blessed Christmas and I look forward to next years messages, reads and laughs.

  20. Broni says:

    This 28 year old 1971 MG convertible will NEVER GO DOWN! :-) Have some good down time in an up-beat sort of way Sharples family and thank you for an inspiring year!

  21. John Finlayson says:

    Never a truer word spoken. However, it is good to have so many good memories of “Before My Time Came”. The big problem is “Living in the Past” instead of Rejoicing in the Past and Living now and enjoying every moment..
    Best regards. Have a Happy and Joyful Christmas.

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