Did life begin at 40?

I have this theory that we are trying to kid ourselves about age. Not about how old we are but more about trying to be positive about getting older. I remember my 40th birthday and counting the number of people who stated anything along the lines of ‘life beginning’ or ‘life starting’ or anything positive about that being forty. But are there any positives about getting older? I think not…


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Age is a funny thing – so much relies on it but really it is just a number which we allocate to yourselves due to the passing of time. Initially this might have been calculated through measuring the number of harvests or, in the case of village elders, the shear amount of knowledge someone possesses. We celebrate the passing of the years and try to keep positive about number of years that have gone. But is there any advantages of getting older? Well maybe, but I can certainly think of a few disadvantages!

  • Bodies! -I am lucky to have and enjoy reasonable good health. I am constantly thankful for this and appreciate it, never taking it for granted. But as I have got older my body appears to be giving up. Eyesight it probably a bad example to start of with, since I know people wear glasses at any age and I have done for some time. But my eyes are getting worse and worse. From only wearing glasses for reading, to wearing them constantly, to having to have varied focal lens. Last week, when teaching, one of my students put my glasses on and exclaimed – “omg Ian you are virtually blind!” – yes, true. But just as my eyes are going downhill other parts are as well. My skin is wrinkly and well – and there is no other way to say this – saggy! Where has the elasticity gone? I remember someone saying that if you stay out in the sun you will ruin your skin – well being a technie, I’ve spent my time inside almost mimicking a vampire and still my skin is sagging. You would have thought that since my skin is sagging that I would be blessed with spot free skin – but oh no – life wants to remind you of your youth and still at the age of over forty, with wrinkly, saggy skin, life still likes to throw in the odd teenage pimple – thanks!

  • Eating food – There is that scene in ’17’ when Zak’s character comes back from school as a teenager and has this undesirable need to quench his hunger eating as many high carb foods in one sitting as possible. These were great times! I used to eat and eat and eat. Loads of food and chocolate and pop and enjoy it. The best part was that I ate and ate and it didn’t do anything! I never put on a single pound at all. But now…what a cruel twist of fate age gives you. Yes you can still eat, but now you keep it. Every cake, pudding, piece of chocolate clings to your body no matter how far you run or how hard you work out. It is as if the food just wants to slowly weigh you down. The temptation is still there, but you know the consequences and although we often say we don’t care and plough on, we know that the morning mirror is not going to hold any punches and will be telling us the hideous truth.

  • Energy – I was never a real party goer or clubber. But I was a late nighter and early riser. I used to go through days, weeks and even months with huge amounts of energy that seem to be springing from an endless source within my body. Staying up to the early hours of the morning talking, playing online games on a school night or even just watching late night films. I did it and still bounced out of bed the next morning and hit the day with vigour and energy. I was virtually unstoppable! And now? Well I guess I might have used up too much energy when I was younger. Now it’s in bed at 10:30 and struggling to get out of bed for work. If it wasn’t for coffee (and any other caffeine source) I’m sure I would be having an afternoon nap most days. My energy sources have gone and now I am struggle to even get through the afternoon let alone the day. Age has sapped me of energy just when I needed more of it – especially with the food clinging to me (see previous section!)

  • I’m not going to get onto people’s attitudes to age within this blog post, I just wanted to concentrate on the impact on me. Although I am yet to be called granddad I am sure it won’t be long! I was once chatting to someone in the library about age. I remember his comment clearly to this day and it is one that I think would be suitable to finish this post with. One thing we do have as we get older is experience and wisdom – there is no doubt or argument about or against this. However, as my colleague remarked – although we have this it’s either too late to do anything with it or we quite frankly don’t have the energy…

    Off to watch “17” and remember being young…have a great day.

    2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

    1. Profile photo of Longshanks
      February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

    2. Profile photo of David Thompson
      March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
      I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
      I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
      I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
      For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
      I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
      For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
      For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

      I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

      The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
      I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

      Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
      Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
      Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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