As St. Augustine might have said, Lord, make me old - but not yet.
My expectations of ageing were relatively benign. No more interminable meetings would be called.
I could revel in unalloyed love for my grandchildren.
Leisurely travel would fill in the most agreeable gaps in our maps.
Full of years, with a book in one hand and a drink in the other, I could finally have life and have it abundantly.
Near an elderly group which does clapping and laughing therapy every morning, the Hanging Gardens in Mumbai has set aside a nook for older folk to have a spell. That is sweetly called Second Innings. I looked forward to many such innings, ones replete with cover drives and leg glances.
Most of us are familiar with tired tropes about old age, about its being a shipwreck, not for sissies, or like a tin can tied to a cat's tail.
As with so many adages you come to appreciate late in life, there now seems to be something to those warnings.
Instead of broad, sunlit uplands backlit by CSS superannuation, the powers that be plan to turn me into Grandpa Joe out of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.
We kid ourselves that we are only as old as we feel, but, before a hip operation or after a bout of blood clots, I have hoped that did not always hold true.
Nonetheless, hope abides. Especially at the start of this pandemic, I convinced myself that good people would band together. We might start to trust in informed experts rather than hysterical populists.
We could turn into the locals in Cobargo, brusquely answering back to authority and demanding a fair go.
A sense of comity and community might help us curb the scourge of family violence. We could begin to back each other up, and back each other in.
Now I am told that my age may deny me use of a ventilator (were I Italian), that I should consider dying for the sake of the economy (in Texas), that I should shut up and stay home (if I were British), and that I might have to improvise for toilet paper (in Australia).
Instead of broad, sunlit uplands backlit by CSS superannuation, the powers that be plan to turn me into Grandpa Joe out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I am to be cooped up in bed, ever more daggy and scruffy, reliant on inedible food drops, bad news dribbling in from the outside world.
I am happy to be labelled, including with wistfully nostalgic terms like "working class" and "Tasmanian". "Old", though, is a distasteful epithet.
We used to hope that age would connote wisdom rather than loneliness, relaxation instead of illness, a chance to enjoy friends without self-isolation and social distancing.
We were wrong; for a while, we need to reset to zero.
Our predicament might be eased by the one compelling thought from my Baby Boomer generation, a statement so true and right that the Beatles sang it forwards, then backwards: "All you need is love, love is all you need."
Being told to stay at home because I'm old is a shock. For years, I have metaphorically slapped my wrist and said "Stop that, you're not 25 any longer".
Certainly now "my way of life is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf" (Macbeth Act 5, Scene 3) and this autumn is permanent.
After a month in India, I escaped compulsory self-isolation by nine days. But now I am at the end of day 11 of self-isolation with my 18-year-old grandson, who arrived home last week from Mexico after a nail-biting fortnight as travel arrangements collapsed like dominoes.
Quiet taps at our door announce a delivery from my daughter, Maitland's mother. We converse with her standing below, Maitland on the balcony and Grandma at the open door.
Life continues happily, and as our greatest threat is probably overeating, we have a daily 20-minute dance routine. Today, my turn to choose, the music was the Waterboys' An appointment with Mr Yeats - Maitland said he'd enjoyed studying Yeats' poetry!
By being less strenuously busy, my life is less complicated. Perhaps I'm realising what it's like to be in the last quarter of my life.Claudia Hyles
He devotes much attention to sleep and online activity, but do I care? No, not really. I'm neither policewoman nor warder, but maybe it's a mark of wisdom that comes with being "old".
I miss concerts and lectures and meeting with friends whom I would like to hug. I abandoned my usual Lenten abstinence from alcohol, undoubtedly weak and feeble, but I hope hell will not be the result.
Travel brochures have gone straight into the recycling - future travel means a simple walk.
My "lodger" has changed the structure to my day. By being less strenuously busy, my life is less complicated. Perhaps I'm realising what it's like to be in the last quarter of my life. Reading is a source of strength and our wonderful ABC - television, RN and FM Classic - is a constant companion.
Replanting my verandah pots, murdered by the January hailstorm, was a joy. Already the sweet pea seeds have germinated. My long-term project is an avocado seed suspended in water, to shoot I hope by the time there is better news about the emergency.
I have just read War Gardens by Lalage Snow, a journey through war zones encountering people who have created gardens against all odds. It is a triumph of human spirit such as we must wish for now.
Fair, fat and 40 no longer, and although currently sedentary, maybe I am savvier, sage and 72.