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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Why it's a good idea just to forget the birthdays

I don't know what it is about middle age, but every time I think I'm just about to reach it, it moves on a few years. When I was a teenager, I thought middle age was about twenty-three. Then, in my 20s, I decided it was thirty-five, as that was half-way to seventy, and didn't it say somewhere about three score years and ten?, although that still did seem incredibly old, and it was actually written in the Old Testament of the Bible, and they all lived to four hundred and ninety, so how did that work? That would make middle-age two-hundred and forty-five and that's a hell of a long time to wait for your pension.

When I got to my 30s, middle-age moved again, to the 40s. Now I'm in my late 40s, and I still haven't got to middle age. I've revised it to 50, which is half way to a hundred, because don't you get a card from the Queen when you hit a hundred? In fact, they're thinking about pushing this on to 105, I hear, as so many people reach their century, and the Queen is running out of things to say, I guess. 'It's incredible that you're doing so well at a hundred' sounds a bit thin when someone's taking three cruises a year, jogging round the park each day and running their own beauty salon. So that's royal assent, more or less, for saying 50 is middle age, or maybe even later? My husband is 53, and so I'll make middle-age 55, as I'd hate to think a spring chicken like me was married to an old codger.

I remember sitting on my bed when I was fourteen, surrounded by posters of the Osmonds and David Cassidy and Showaddywaddy and Elvis, and working out how old I'd be when we hit the Millennium. I figured I would have got to thirty-eight. Thirty-eight?!!! I distinctly recall saying to myself, 'But I'll be dead!'

This all makes me well aware that, to the pupils at school, I am very, very old. In fact, this may account for the surprise on their faces when I make it into school, day by day, virtually upright. And, because I can remember feeling just the same about my teachers, I don't get offended when they show amusement that I've heard of Kanye West, or they hear me say something's 'cool'. I would have felt the same and as long as they don't express it rudely ('Miss, how can you know about Kanye West? Don't you need your hearing for that? or 'How do you know the word 'cool'? Is it because you were born in the Ice Age?') I'm not going to slam them into detention or make them write, 'I will not imply that the only thing Miss would look good in now is a shroud' a thousand times in their best script.

The problem is, however much I push on the day when I become middle-aged, the signs aren't good. I seem to have this pre-(please note)-pre middle-age spread around my waist, and a few pre-middle age wrinkles and a pre-middle age saggy chin.

Hm.

25 comments:

  1. Ah, the memories. I remember being in school in the sixties with that assignment to figure out how old I'd be at the Millennium. 45? Ancient! And why did my grandmother always say she was 39+? Why did she pick such an old age to be stuck at?

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  2. I like your grandmother's approach, Laura. I'm going to adopt that one. 39+ sounds great to me, from where I'm sitting ... it's all about perspective.

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  3. Oh dear. Fifty-five is WAY too young for middle aged. I'm already there, and I'm a perky young thing. Though you'd never know it to look at me. Could we make it 60 instead?

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  4. Lesley, if you're fifty-five, I think you should put a real picture of yourself up on your blog. That lady looks way younger. Stop trying to fool us. We won't laugh at the grey hair and the rocking chair and the big black hairs sprouting from your chin.

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  5. Hello there - I've tracked back to you from my blog, to say that I too will be back - I've had a good laugh at what I've read so far. And you love 'Jane Eyre' too....

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  6. Hi Rachel - thanks for dropping in, and I'm glad you liked my blog. Oh, yes, I love 'Jane Eyre' and just watched (again) the most recent BBC adaptation which is divine. Have you read 'Wide Sargasso Sea', which is Jean Rhys' telling of Bertha Mason's story? I still prefer Bronte though!

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  7. Middle age definitely starts at 60, speaking as another 55 year old, and lasts for quite a short time before one becomes old at 70. My mother looked fabulously young for her age for years and years and used to say that she was intending to grow old overnight at 70 and just stop bothering. She did it too so I am planning to emulate her.

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  8. elizabethm - I think I will make that decision too, to grow old all of a sudden, but I think I'll plump for my 110th birthday as my overnight transformation. That's sure to get the neighbours talking.

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  9. I'm 65, and I think there are a number of advantages to being a senior. First of all, you become invisible, which is great until you get knocked over. You can be crabby and it's all explained. You get some things at a discount, and that helps with the pharmacy bills. You don't have to shave your legs anymore (I'll say no more about that, but there is more to it). You can nap without guilt. Otherwise, it's a pisser.

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  10. Some say that age is just a number, but as that number increases, there is a tendency for your mind to make promises that your body just can't keep. Oh joy!

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  11. Sharon, your comment was fabulous - a little blog post all of its own. It made me laugh so much. EVERYONE: READ SHARON'S COMMENT. IT'S FUNNIER THAN MY POST.

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  12. Martin - is this a case of 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is just too damn old'?! Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Ya get up around 70 and you can start bragging about it.
    I'm 68 and I rode 100 miles one day last summer.

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  14. Lane - I refuse to be impressed until I know whether this was on a camel, donkey, horse, llama, motorbike, skateboard, scooter, tricycle, bicycle, unicycle ....

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  15. What is it with all this age business; It IS just a number, and an arbitrary one at that. I know people who are young at 80 and others that are stuffed shirts at 30. Sharon has the right idea but you can adopt that philosophy at 40, although you won't get free prescriptions, of course.

    One thing that I do find really good about being retired is that I can rave and rant to my heart's content; it's her age! they'll say. The other good thing is that I no longer need to please anybody, no employer can ever sack me again for subordination.

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  16. Ah, Friko - retirement sounds like bliss. Only 18 years to go ... aaarrrggghhhhh!!

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  17. You also are likely to forget to mention it was a bicycle you rode it on.

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  18. P.S. Yay, Friko!
    I got banned from the streets around Benaroya Hall for not kowtowing to the Seattle Symphony.
    It's wonderful!

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  19. In which case, Lane, I am dead impressed.

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  20. I've been practicing at being a grouchy old man for years. I'm getting really really good at it.

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  21. Mark, I'm going to leave annoying comments on your blog sometime, then, so I can watch the grouch in you come out. Otherwise, I refuse to believe a word of it.

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  22. I always wanted to be an obstreporus old fart.
    If only to find out what the word meant.

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  23. Great blog! I'm following so I can visit often...I am 62 and still feel the same as I did in younger years..mentally. I actually feel I have improved...only now, I have to work a lot harder at keeping the weight off. I can remember being 14 and thinking a year was FOREVER! Now the time flies by...back then, I had such a "tough life", making my bed, doing chores, and being home before the street lights were on...

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  24. Donna B - thank you so much for visiting and welcome to my world! I enjoyed your blog greatly when I came over to look. Yes, I remember the days, too, when time used to go slowly. That was probably because we were wanting so much to be OLDER. If only we'd known ....

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  25. Me, I've been trying to work out how old a geriatric is... and when I'll know that I've got there. If, indeed, I'm not there already.

    Val

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