by Jerzy Morkis
That would probably cover it for most people but there is actually a whole period missed out there, one folk seem somewhat reluctant to talk about. Let’s call it ‘old age pending’.
And if infancy and childhood are the ages of innocence, ‘old age pending’ is definitely the age of wisdom... and jaded cynicism – the ‘not very happy bunny brigade’.
And I know what I’m talking about; I’m a fully commissioned officer in this particular age group.
Having allied myself over the years to those who stand against racism, sexism, bigotry, intolerance of all kinds and snollygosters, I have now reached the Buddhic perspective that the world would be a whole lot better if folk were simply just a bit more considerate towards others.
Inconsideration and incompetence, these are my two big irritations now.
The onset of middle age was okay; I reckon 40 was the starting line for that and you didn’t feel any different than 39, or 35 for that matter.
I quite enjoyed it really but, 18 years on, I definitely don’t physically feel like 35 and this latest stage is like being ushered into a beige waiting room.
Energy levels are lower, there are still a few years before retirement, there are aches and pains and “doing things” seems an awful effort.
There is also the fact that 2013 saw two of my companions on life’s journey quit the waiting room, skip ‘old age’ and head directly into the uncharted territory.
I am now definitely the guy in the joke who, on a trip to the big bad city, meets a scarlet lady who says: “Fancy a night of super sex?” And he replies without a second’s hesitation, “The soup...”
Take concerts; I used to love live music. But to race off after work to travel to say, Glasgow, then find myself standing and cramped up beside folk less than half my age, no thanks. Then there’s the long drive back and expectation to be bright eyed and bushy tailed at work the next morning. Don’t think so. Not any more.
And if I can be hauled off to a gig, I want a seat and if I get one I do not want to be surrounded by weak-bladdered beer drinkers that turn my concert experience into something like a perpetual Mexican wave.
And then there are the Saturday nights? Remember when ‘Saturday night’ was the night when you let your hair down. What hair?
And now, it’s a case of dozing in front of ‘Strictly’ and actually not noticing any scanty costumes but inspecting feet and arm posture. It’s the continuation of the Saturday evening numbness I was forced to endure as a child – Billy Cotton, the Black and White Minstrels, the Generation Game. The ‘light entertainment’ that, at one time, I thought was the property of the Prince of Darkness.
Terry Wogan used to joke about it when he had the morning show on Radio Two ( a station I abandoned when Chis Evans’ persistent chatter gave me a headache) but beige actually is the colour and mood of ‘Old Age Pending’.
I bought a new pair of boots recently but haven’t worn them because I think the laces are “too young” for me.
Turning on the radio, I hear “Do what you want to my body...” or “Talk dirty to me...” and I wonder why my late father used to get so upset at me listening to Bob Dylan. I wouldn’t be bothered if ‘Sing Something Simple’ was back on the airwaves.
So, us Old Age Penders can’t turn the clock back and we’re pretty aware of what the future holds. The three Buddhist truths of Old Age, Sickness and Death are pretty non-negotiable but that doesn’t mean I will leave the beige waiting room into Old Age passively. No.
Most of the folk outside are inconsiderate and incompetent and, of course, haven’t reached the age of wisdom and cynicism. And their music sucks.
And the time is coming when us Old Age Penders will rise up. Look out.