So, a colleague casually inquired, what are you doing for your 50th?
Eh? My what?
Hang on that can’t be remotely correct, I’m only ... er, um, okay, maybe I do need to think about it. BUT NOT YET!
The notion of being an age beginning with the number ‘five’ is just ludicrous. I’m ‘w-a-a-a-a-y too young to even contemplate such a landmark.
Last time I checked I was a not too shabby 43, okay, 44. Alright, alright, I’m 47 for a further six days - but those six days are being held hostage until someone comes up with a darned good package to make me turn 48! Bring on the specially trained negotiators!
C’mon - 48, what sort of hopeless number is that? If it was a colour it’d be beige. If it was an item of clothing it’d be a cardigan with elbow patches.
Forty-seven is fine - there’s a solid barrier between you and what most of my staff would deem to be ‘‘old age’’ (we old fogeys, in turn, reserve such a label for anyone nudging 70-ish).
I quite like(d) being 47. Forty-eight just seems superfluous. It’s not a landmark - not even a number in the shadows of a landmark year. All it has going for it is it isn’t 49. That strikes me as a feeble excuse for jumping straight into it.
Samoa recently abolished an entire day to re-align its time zones, so if it’s good enough for them, I reckon no-one can grumble too much if I unilaterally wipe 48 from the calendar.
Apologies to all other imminent members of the 48-Club but on this issue it’s vital we stand together - but not for too long otherwise our backs will start to give us gyp and our feet will start to swell up.
The other biggie about getting old(er) is that, at some point, you have to cross the bridge marked ‘‘Acting Your Age.’’
I have a problem with this - I’ve absolutely no idea what it means.
Is there a manual? Can you buy it in Waterstone’s or get it from the library?
Is there a college course I can sign up for? If so, do I have the minimum qualifications (two Highers and eight O-Grades)
Time was people of the Age I’m About To Become But Refuse To Acknowledge For Six More Days pottered about in garden sheds, brewed home wine, played bridge or golf, or, if they felt the need for an injection of adrenalin, went to a dinner party. All ‘proper’ grown-up activities I seem to have by-passed entirely.
But we are living longer - 40s barely qualify as ‘middle age’ let along ‘old age’ and the difference between how people act now and how they were in the 1970s is remarkable.
Time was a coach tour of northern Scotland was about as exciting as holidays got. Now my folks seem to have a deep knowledge of all the routes of luxury five-star cruises fom here to the Caribbean and back, and are probably out more than me!
I’m told even Saga do some fab holiday deals, but forgive me if I decline the offer of a brochure for a few more years.
True my days of dancing ON the bar at Kitty’s - long story, don’t ask, involved beer - are perhaps behind me, but I cling to that ‘perhaps’ as evidence I have not yet succuumbed to old-codgerness.
The best nights out can still involve being out on the town until my watch strikes silly o’clock when the definition of ‘drinking responsibly’ can mean saying no to that third shot of apple sours. When I say ‘no’ of course I mean ‘‘oh, go on then ...cheers!’’
Good food, good company, good music, good chat ... perm any combo. You really don’t need much more.
That applies as much in your 40s as it does in your 20s. The recovery process just takes a little bit longer.
Age? I guess it’s just a number. Even if they are rising rather too fast ...