I T is possible for your heart not to grow old. I’m not talking physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

When last did someone ask you how your heart is doing? I think the state of the human heart is possibly the most important thing we should be checking regularly.

When do you grow old? Is it when you get a job? Is it marriage? Is it kids? Is it a home loan? Is it grey hair or hair loss? At what point do we forsake the fun, the laughter, the stuff that fuels us and keeps us alive? When do you become Mr Dull from Dullington?

When I turned 21, I asked my grandfather’s band to play at my party. The Simco Swingsters, they were called. At the time, the three-piece (my grandad, his brother and their life-long friend) were well into their 70s. David (my grandad’s friend) lived at a retirement village, and he played the fiddle. Stories came to me about how he practiced in their outside garage for lengthy periods. Some of the family were obviously concerned – he had Parkinson’s Disease. But he told his wife how important it was that he played and practised, because it kept him alive. I will never forget playing drums with that trio at my 21st, but more entrenched in my memory is three life-long friends – 70-plus years old – ripping it up and cracking jokes at that gig in Maritzburg like they were 20-something at the Blue Waters Hotel in Durban.

Their hearts didn’t grow old.

(From left) Uncle David Cowie, me, Uncle Colin Simpkins and Grandad (Bob Simpkins).

(From left) Uncle David Cowie, me, Uncle Colin Simpkins and Grandad (Bob Simpkins).

I’ve made it a quiet mandate of mine to make sure that other musicians’ drum kits don’t gather dust in garages, or bass guitars don’t sit in studios for lifetimes. Not for any other reason than because I want as many people as I know to hang on to some youthfulness in their heart, and music is the best way I know how.

The world needs young hearts. There’s plenty of grey, heavy clouds around: economies battling, civil rights imploding, integrity continually compromised… that’s where a young heart – courageous and audacious enough to believe in better things – is what your immediate world needs.

Marriages need young hearts. In the end you may have a wrinkled face, but if you and your spouse get all the way there and you’re both still young at heart – well, I can think of few things more beautiful than that.

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