The inexorable slide towards fifty continues, bringing with it more jowels, another chin, a further inch around my gut, possibly a grey hair, another millimetre of receding hairline and ageist jokes from my younger friends.
Yes – I am forty six years old tomorrow.
So why do I act like a seventeen year old? Why do I feel like a teenager trapped inside an old man’s body?
Middle age is a pain in the arse. I no longer have an excuse to get away with the things I love doing and my body is rebelling against me.
Take rock music for example. I adore rock music but when I go a heavy metal concert I find myself surrounded by kids who are old enough to be my own son. I don’t go to them as much as I used to.
If I drink a beer too many the hangover really does kick me in the skull. Waking up with a massive headache, upset stomach and no energy is bad enough. But when you feel the same the day afterwards, something is very wrong. “But I only had four pints” I find myself wailing.
My dress sense is rapidly vanishing and I find myself browsing around the slipper section of department stores. Thankfully Mrs PM stops me before I buy something totally embarrassing. I can no longer shop for clothes alone. I dread to think what I would buy if allowed to go out on my own.
My memory is fading. I swear that I have been introduced to a man recently and within an hour had completely forgotten his name. How can you have a conversation with a person while you are desperately trying to remember whether his name is Fred or Gladys?
More and more parts of my body ache if I over-exert myself. I ache in places that I thought it was impossible to feel pain. My back is starting to hurt more regularly. I’m turning into a wreck.
And I’ve discovered that my very first optician lied to me. At the age of eight, I was told that I was extremely short-sighted.
“Don’t worry,” the liar said. “As you get older, your eyes will improve.”
I could always read books with or without my glasses. Now I have discovered that I am becoming more long-sighted. If I am wearing my glasses I cannot easily read the newspaper. What is going on? I will have to wear bi-focals or vari-focals or even two pairs of glasses.
I’m falling apart.
I’ve talked before about embarrassing hair but at least I’m not bald or grey. However, hair is sprouting out of parts of my body that I thought should remain hairless forever. My ears are so hairy that I have to shave them. That’s right, I shave my ears. And what possible reason is there for hair to suddenly start growing out of your nose at the age of forty? It’s embarrassing. When I go for a haircut I don’t want to say “short back and sides and while you’re on take an inch off my nose hair.”
I said that I felt young but am struggling to be understand the younger generation. My fifteen year old lad tries his best to keep me informed but is exasperated by the fact that I don’t understand what he’s saying to me. I try to keep my hand in by playing on their consoles with them. Just last week I was utterly humiliated playing a racing game on the Wii games console called “Super Mario Kart”. My fifteen year old son beat me repeatedly. I needed to massage my bruised ego so I challenged my other son, aged twelve. He walloped me repeatedly. I couldn’t face this. My pride was being mauled. I challenged them both to a fighting game. I was beaten to an absolute pulp by both of them. It was a massacre. The figure on the screen was kicked, punched, battered, bruised and bleeding. And it was me. My lads even tried to give me a chance. And I still lost. I was humiliated. And I kept dropping the Wii controller. My wrists hurt for days.
I don’t know who the hip new generation of pop stars are. I don’t understand the appeal of hip hop, rap, trip hop, dance, trance, garage, house. I don’t even know why music is named after buildings. In the eighties it was just rock and pop.
I used to love going to the pub on a Friday night. Now I find myself having a quiet drink until about eight o’clock at which time the landlord turns the music up to a volume that shatters glass and introduces the fogies like myself to hip hop, trip trap and blup blop. The youngsters descend on the place and I can’t hear myself think. So I go home, put on my slippers and watch BBC2.
Actually, although most of the above is true, I actually do like being older. I am happy with my life and my body, despite it’s constant urge to kick me in the teeth. I am forty six years old tomorrow but I look ten years younger so I can, for the time being, get away with pretending to be young when I want to. I just suffer for a day or two afterwards. Still, its worth it. I am young at heart and will probably be one of those old aged pensioners still trying to “strut my funky stuff” to Abba at the seventies revival disco at the old folks home (as long as my hip will allow me to).
I’ll finish by saying that being older does have its benefits. People expect me to moan – so I do. People expect me to be sensible – even though I am not.
And I can’t wait to get my own back on my two lads when they eventually get married.
Picture the scene: I will be fifty something dancing to Kajagoogoo’s “Too Shy” on the dance floor watching my sons cringe with embarrassment.
And I will be thinking: “Serves you right for kicking my arse at Wii Boxing”.