IT’S THAT TIME of the year when people say where has the year gone? It’s also the time of the year when I think of John Winston Lennon. He was shot when he was just 40 on December 8, 1980. He would have turned 70 next year. But as fate would have it, it was John Winston Howard who clocked up his biblically allotted three score and 10 this year. So it goes.
I remember vividly the day John Lennon died. I was teaching at Gladstone Area School and decided to drive back to Adelaide for the weekend. A truck went by and threw up a rock and the windscreen shattered on my old FB Holden just as I was entering a curve in the road.
I was lucky I didn’t roll the car or drive into oncoming traffic. I was 25 and doing about 100km/h. That rock could have been the end of me. I’d driven the road just enough times to remember how to keep to the curve, even though I couldn’t see a thing. I pulled over and punched out the shattered glass. As I was looking at the cuts on my hand the news theme came on the radio and the announcer said: “John Lennon has been shot and killed outside his apartment in New York City.”
The station played Imagine as a tribute to this extraordinary man. Maybe it was the shock of the accident and his murder but I started remembering when I was an eightyear-old dancing to the Beatles and singing along with John. I had flashes of the Beatles’ visit to Adelaide, hearing Sergeant Peppers and the White Album for the first time and the day the Beatles broke up. People blamed Yoko but I didn’t because I thought if John was happy why not let him live his own life? He did, and gave the world Imagine. It had never sounded quite as sad and poignant as that day.
He lives on through his music and his son Julian from his first marriage and Sean, who he had with Yoko on October 9, 1975. The other day I saw an article on Yoko Ono. It said: “Still feeling good at 76”. I can’t believe Yoko is 76! Mick Jagger is 66. The stars of the swinging ’60s are now in their 60s and 70s. So when a very young Mick Jagger sang Time is on My Side he must have had no idea what time really meant.
So what does it mean? Einstein thought it was relative. I could never understand the theory of relativity and anyone who says they can is no relative of mine. But a friend who wasted a lot of time early on in his life when he thought he had a lot of time on his side came up with a theory as to why time does seem to be relative.
It goes like this. When you are four waiting to turn five that year goes very slowly because you have to wait 25 per cent of your life. When you are 20 waiting to turn 21 you have to wait just 5 per cent of your life, so time goes five times faster. You get the picture. The older you get the faster it seems to go. So by the time you are Yoko’s age, time is fairly racing along compared to the way you experienced it as a four year old.
Time seems to go even faster for me at this time of year because my birthday is on the 11th day of Christmas. Thankfully, my true love has never given me 11 pipers piping. But when the New Year and your birthday almost coincide you seem to always “hear time’s winged chariot hurrying near”.
A wise man once told me if you thought of years as money and you were born with three score and 10 in your wallet you would open your wallet every now and then and look at how much you had left and how you would spend it. According to that theory I have 15 left so I am going to be thinking very carefully about how I spend what I have left. A wise old woman also once said the worst thing about growing old was growing old, but the alternative was far worse. So enjoy life, check your wallet every now and then and spend your life wisely.