My Nan turned 90 on Saturday.

90 years in the world. 90 years of living life.

She’s seen so much, loved so much and lost so much, including her own daughter. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. Your child is not supposed to die before you, right? But her child – my mum – did die and so do other people. Life happens.

Liz Goodchild

My Nan talks a lot about dying, of her not being around much longer. I always shush her, tell her to not think that way. “You’ll be around for a long time yet, Nanna!”

But she won’t, will she? She’s 90. Even if she gets to 100, it’s only 10 years away.

She won’t be around forever. And neither will I. Or you.

I sit on her bashed up brown sofa – the one I’ve sat on each time I’ve visited her for the 33 years of my existence – and wonder what it’s like to be 90 and know your life is ticking away. It makes me panic but she seems so calm about it. Like she somehow knows that it’s all going to be ok.

I asked her once if she’s enjoyed her life so far. She didn’t really have an answer. In fact, she looked bemused. Maybe it was the first time she’d been asked.

Maybe she wasn’t sure.

It made me wonder if I’m sure.

Are you sure?

The world is spinning on its axis right now. Out there somewhere. And I am sitting on a wooden chair typing on a Mac that was made by the hands of someone I don’t even know. The trees are changing colour. Babies are born. Your bin gets emptied every Thursday. Lots of people just died in the second it took you to read this sentence about people dying. Day turns to night. Oh, look, there’s a rainbow! Aeroplanes take off in one country and land in another and most of us don’t even know how the fuck a plane can stay in the air but we get on them anyway. No questions asked. Birds build nests. Someone just made put some bread in their toaster and forgot and now it’s all burnt. Night turns to day. Clouds roll. You agree a new mortgage. A new season of X Factor starts! A shuttle is launched into space. You go to work and come home and wake up the next day and do it all again. Just like that.


Your life is happening right now. And it’s ticking away.

Are you living it?