Following on from part two of the things you are going to find when you’re 50.
Ten more items from the same list:
- For a long time you have prided yourself on how laid-back you are. Not for you excitement over the miners’ strike, Milli Vanilli, or the Falkland’s war. Recently you are getting red-faced; yelling at the television like some Alf Garnett caricature. You start to avoid certain national newspapers and Question Time on the BBC.
- You’ve crammed as much into your life as you thought possible; considered that every moment was a busy moment. Now juggling has become more frenetic. You consider ways to do more: reading whilst going to the loo; learning whilst sleeping; writing your memoirs whilst stood on one foot pulling on a sock. You wonder whether sleep should be optional.
- Posters, brochures, TV adverts you notice are predominantly in favour of young people. You’ve never noticed this before. “Young people are our future”; “young people deserve a chance”; “think of the children”. You’ve been excluded from important people in society and no one gave you any warning.
- Skimpy underwear for young people is exciting, no underwear is considered provocative. For some reason now big underwear is appealing; if it doesn’t reach your belly-button you no longer consider buying it.
- Gatherings of people seem to generate enough noise to rival a Motörhead concert. You find yourself avoiding socialising; instead sitting in to watch repeats of familiar programmes.
- People now find it a great idea to deny how old you are. “You’re 50; you don’t look it”; “I never would have thought that you were 50”; “50? You look much younger”. Even though you know that it’s fabricated, you still like it and work to pretend it is genuine.
- There are gaps in your hearing – tones that you can no longer hear. You attend hearing tests and no one can detect these gaps. Oh there’s hearing loss but that’s “normal” for your age. People you like start to use those tones to communicate. “What?” is now a conversational feature.
- Despite appearances, as far as you’re concerned you are still 18. You feel 18. You’re sure you think like 18. If only your knee would stop hurting you’d give that snowboarding a try. Other people see you as some hoary old hermit. This is confusing. For some reason you’re no longer allowed to go rock climbing, roller blading or clubbing and you’re unable to understand why.
- Things that happened yesterday as far as you’re concerned: the music of your youth; the attitudes of your teen years; the clothes people chose. These are now referred to as “classic” or “old school”. Those times are regarded as morally the Wild West. Those who lived through them are regarded with suspicion; as borderline depraved.
- You’ve ceased to be described by absolutes. When you were younger you might have been “good at maths”; “good at running” or, if you were very lucky “good” with the opposite sex. Now “for your age” becomes a universal qualifier “your vision isn’t bad for your age”; “your blood pressure is good for your age” or if you’re very lucky “you look good for your age”. You’ve lost the ability to be just “good” at anything and have joined a group of people older than 50 who must therefore be less “good” than everybody else.
If you missed part one you will find it here:
If you missed part two you will find it here:
Watch out for part four here: