Two things to begin with, a clarification and a confession

The clarification: this book’s title and its subtitle are a play on words. Certainly there is a literal child in the story. A purely physical, softly breathing, constantly smiling baby. He was born Adam Maghinay Doyle on October 21, 2014 on one of the largest of the Philippines 7,107 islands, to my Filipina wife of 3 weeks, Anelyn Maghinay Doyle. 

But the word “child” also reflects my frame of mind at this late point in my life. How it feels to be a new father at this penultimate stage. If not feeling quite a child myself - no, I can not claim to feel that innocent in any sense - at least decades younger than the calendar tells me. Waking each day with the joy, exuberance, optimism I felt in the brightest years of my life. 

It is a commonplace now for older people to stress how young they feel as they age. Their bodies - my body - may be visibly past prime but they feel that their minds, their dreams, their wills are just as sharp as when they were much younger. Sharper even. There is a distinct sense that life is just beginning. That now they are - I am - ready for anything. Ready finally to start really living.

Some readers may already be shaking their heads in disgust at this scenario. What kind of monster is this writer? How can he brag about what he is doing? A grown man - a fully fledged septuagenarian, for goodness sake!!!!! - having a baby with a young foreign girl he hardly knows. What is the world coming to? But that is the whole point of telling this tale. To scream from the mountain tops that it is possible for a new life to begin at any stage.

It has often been observed that “Youth is wasted on the young”. Well, now we have a society where you can pick up the dreams you may have previously wasted - missed, ignored, forgotten - while you are old enough to fully appreciate them. Where you can have a new life!!!!

Hence the book’s subtitle, which is, first and foremost, a literal reference to Adam’s birth, a new life indeed, and what a bundle of joy. But it also describes my current existence, a total change from the tedious pattern of half a century. Some might want to water down that claim from “a total change” to merely “a lifestyle change” but it seems much more than this for me. Yes, I still look pretty much as I used. At least as I did a few years ago before this new course started.

But my skin aside, all is changed. My mind set, my pleasures, my pastimes, above all my sense of contentment, nay my happiness. It is indeed as if I have been reborn.

I think of immigrants in the centuries gone by travelling West from Europe to America in search of a better life. Now for many retirees, the promise in both these continents is proving hollow. The push is to the East to rediscover dreams in this century’s emerging markets.

These retirees do not have the advantages of youth that prompted many of the immigrants to make their journeys centuries ago. Even in the midst of my current happiness, I admit that there is a fairly low limit to what exercise and medicine can do to extend my horizons. But I am confident that I have a fair number of years yet and, given the richness of each passing day now, each of those is likely to be equal to half a dozen or 10 of my previous years so it is not a bad bargain.

And, to round off this Introduction, the second thing, the confession: I was not actually 70 when baby Adam was born, rather a mere 68, but finishing this story on the cusp of his third birthday, when he is now fully formed and frighteningly active, I am only a year or so into the beginning of that new decade in my existence so it seems entirely appropriate to pirate the figure.

New stories are starting on the globe for Adam, Anelyn and I and, also, here on these pages. So let’s get on with it.

James House, Solangan Beach,

Siquijor Island, Philippines

April 25, 2017