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This ageing game

Posted by Simon Parke, 16 January 2019, 6.24pm

Daniel Holland recently initiated a merry exchange of tweets on the subject of getting old.

‘What are the signs of the passing years?’ he asked - and started the ball rolling with ‘I think the most ‘old person’ thing I do is feel brave and reckless if I begin watching a film after 9pm.’

And other suggestions followed, the tell-tale signs of age:

‘I have “a spot” on the couch,’ says Rebecca, while for Denise, it’s all about slippers:

‘Slippers…slippers on as soon as I get in…slippers with me for an overnight stay anywhere. Slippers.’

Roger finds himself thinking about weekends differently. Sign of getting old? ‘Getting excited when weekend plans are cancelled,’ he declares and others share in this particular joy.

‘I don’t have to go out!’

Then there’s a new relationship to the sofa. ‘I hobble when I walk after getting up from the sofa,’ says Lloyd. ‘I’m 51.’

While involuntary noises - the ‘Ooohs’ and the ‘Ahhhs’ - when rising from the sofa or sitting down on it, are also well documented. Ageing appears to be about grunting when you didn’t used to grunt.

The owning of a cardigan gets equal coverage and electric blankets are much applauded, declared by one person, ‘an endless joy’.

So many new considerations as each year begins a new conversation with our bodies.

For instance, Kerry now sits down to sneeze, ‘so I don’t throw my back out,’ while for Sally, ‘When dropping something on the floor, I consider “How much do I need it?” before deciding whether to pick it up or not.’

And new requirements appear in the home. Dave says, ‘I have a stick just for stirring paint.’

Crucial.

While Vanessa now has ‘special shoes for gardening.’

Yep, she doesn’t use them for anything else…that wouldn’t be on at all.

And of course waning sight is an issue. Michael finds himself saying, ‘“Wait, let me get my glasses” whenever someone hands me something to read. I used to make fun of those people,’ he adds.

Ah yes, sadly we find ourselves greeted by each of our amusing/barbed asides from our past - hoist by our own petard, as Shakespeare would say.

While we discover Lydia ‘squinting at tiny cooking instructions on packets and then holding them at arm’s length where my focus is better before admitting defeat and getting my glasses.’

Randy? Randy is changing his travel routine. ‘It’s never too early to get to the airport,’ he says, an important truth he has come to in the third half of life.

While for Jane, there are new delights to be found in TV drama. ‘When I watch a sex scene on telly,’ she says, ‘I find myself paying more attention to the soft furnishings.’

Something lost, something gained.

While Steven says he now only has two jokes which he repeats endlessly. The best one is the second of the two. ‘When I heard there was a cure for dyslexia it was like music to my arse.’

Though I feel someone under fifty could find that funny; good comedy isn’t age-specific… but our body is.

Cardinal New man said, ‘Life is change and to be perfect is to have changed often.’

This is true and delightfully, a number of surveys record those in their late sixties as the ‘happiest’ people in the UK.

But living in a body one neither recognises nor particularly welcomes is one of the more difficult adjustments along the path to heaven.

Every year, a fresh conversation with our miraculous but aching body.

‘What shall we agree on for now?’

 
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