You know you’re getting old when…by Emily Smart
Last week I got a bit of a shock. The government got in touch to let me know that the over 50s can now book their Covid-19 vaccination jab. Momentarily, I thought they had a made a mistake, until I remembered that I will be 51 on my next birthday. When in the name of all things old and senile did that happen?! I am now officially ancient, over-the-hill, destined to spend the rest of my life in adult nappies, getting hip replacements and growing wispy hairs on my chin.
If I’m honest with myself, old age has been gradually creeping up over the last few years, and I’ve noticed what a grumpy, cantankerous, crabby little bollock I have become (I can hear a few of you saying ‘what do you mean have become?’). The older I get, the less I seem to care about the unimportant things in life, and yet I can moan with the best of them when it comes to politics, religion and the price of cucumbers in the supermarket.
I don’t know anything about growing old gracefully, but I do know that I do things now that my younger self would be ashamed of and embarrassed by. Here are some of the tell-tale signs that I’m almost ready to collect my gold bus pass.
Over the last few years, I have been having a ‘proper’ morning tea between 10.30 am and 11.00 am every day. Red Bush only, tea bag dunked, not left to stew, accompanied by a biscuit or two. I don’t leave home without my Red Bush, taking it into the office, the local café and to friends’ houses. I am sure it’s an early warning sign that I am already a mad old bat, but I like what I know, and I know what I like (old woman speak for the uninitiated).
Following on from this, I now meet a friend for a regular catch up at a nearby garden centre café (I know, absolutely tragic). Once we’ve had a cuppa and a natter, I’m off looking at the birthday cards and novelty socks in the adjoining shop, aware that I’m becoming more like my mother by the minute.
Fashion faux pas
I have started wearing elasticated trousers, and even dare to go out in tracksuit pants, much to my family’s horror. Do I care? Do I fuck! They are so comfortable, and warm during the winter months. That’s another thing I’ve noticed – I have no shame or sense of embarrassment. I walk around with a furry trapper’s hat, and a Michelin man mustard colour puffer jacket, with tracky bottoms, socks and sandals. I am fashion-less and wouldn’t look out of place huddled in a shop doorway at night time. I’ve also recently stopped wearing underwired bras. I have crop tops which give the impression that I have one huge mono-boob, but the upside is, I no longer fling my bra off at 6pm every night (the kids are delighted).
As the years are flying by, I now find the need to be in bed by 8.30pm at the very latest most evenings. Retiring with my Kindle (with increased font size of late) and my electric blanket up on high. I have even been known to leave guests sitting at the table while I’ve snuck off to bed. If you’ve been at my house and this has happened, please don’t take it personally, I need my beauty sleep, though I’m not sure there are enough hours in the night!
During the day is just as bad, I’ll just sit down for five minutes which then somehow turns into a 30 minute nap. I totally get why the Europeans favour the siesta. God, I’ll be doing the crossword and a Sudoku puzzle next.
Talking of bedtime, I also recently purchased a new toy for the boudoir. Get your minds out of the gutter – it’s a tray like you get in hospitals. During the day, it’s my office (I stay in bed ‘cos the house is so cold) and at night times, it’s my media centre. It’s such a multi-purpose product, last weekend I used it as a hostess trolley for nibbles and drinks.
As I sit here over-sharing, I’m trying to think what my 20-year old self would have to say about all this? I’m not sure I want to know the answer.
Talking to strangers is another classic oldie thing I’ve started doing. Wherever I am, be it at the shops, at bus stops, in restaurants, I natter away to people like I’ve known them my whole life. And when I’m not having conversations with complete strangers, I’m busy talking to myself. Out loud. In public.
I could go on, in fact there are probably another 15 blogs on this topic, from having to retrace my steps and go in and out of a room to remember what I was about to do, to losing the car in a carpark – yes that happened to me a few weeks ago. But I’ll leave you with the biggest shocker as I meander into my twilight years. To me, everyone looks young. I mean everyone who has a proper job, like doctors, police, teachers, dentists. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve murmured under my breath, ‘I’ve got tights older than you’ to these child-like adults, I’d be a very rich woman.
I’ve already thought of my next blog subject with the catchy title ‘Things I never thought I’d end up saying, when will I stop sounding like my mother?’ Here’s a quick preview. I told the cat off the other day with the immortal ‘You treat this place like a hotel.’ Talk about if looks could kill. Needless to say, he didn’t find it amusing, but I’m sure I heard the dog sniggering.