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.

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