This is hard. There are no two ways to say it.
I know it’s ‘better’ to grow old than die young, but getting old just is not easy.
You know you are growing old when your body starts changing, and your physical health isn’t what it was. I haven’t even got to fifty yet.
It’s not so much wearing glasses/contact lenses (I always have done), or even going grey – I’ve still only got a handful of grey/white hairs so can easily pluck them out.
It’s things like your fillings falling out – the ones you should probably never had had in the first place had it not been for the unethical drill and fill policy at the time. Your teeth are still hanging on in there, just complete with a load of gaps and pointy edges.
After twenty or more years of the same body shape, something starts to change. It doesn’t even look out of proportion. It is just, well, bigger. And actually, I don’t want to be bigger. I have spent forty years being slim, and after being insultingly called skinny and flat-chested I have finally got used to it, only for it to change. All my darling designer clothes no longer fit.
Colds seem to take longer than ever to go away, not just flu, just boring old colds. Serious injuries – like those incurred by the Cat Chasing Monster – literally take a year or more.
You start to worry about health care. (Especially when you have worked in the NHS).
You certainly worry about money. Especially when the fucking British government retrospectively changes the age of pensions for women. May you all rot in hell for screwing me and everyone else on my pension planning you total and utter gits.
People start dying on you. One university friend died in his late 30s, a former neighbour and good friend died suddenly last year in his 60s. Your parents decide to leave you alone in the world and suddenly wipe out half of your past.
And what is really bad about getting older? You are aren’t even any wiser. You make the same mistakes. Sadder and older and wiser is just not true. Sadder and older maybe, but no wiser. In fact I think I was more sensible when I was young and just told people to fuck off when they got up my nose.
You wonder if you will ever do those things you planned to do. And you wonder if you even want to do them any more. When your motivation goes, you know you are getting old.
There are times when I feel like the oldest 25-year-old on the planet. Because I still think I am 25. And that’s the problem.