Welcome to TDG’s source of manly wisdom! This month: Age
I’ve passed yet another birthday since words last passed between us. I’m now just seven years from being 60 – and it feels as if I’m having two or three birthdays every year.
Time definitely passes more quickly as you get older, but it’s also meant to ‘fly’ when you’re enjoying yourself – yet I’m even grumpier than I’ve ever been. So we can put that theory to bed.
Our children have left behind their teenage years – only one of them lives at home and we hardly ever see him; I’ve started receiving regular junk mail from Saga; I’ve found a liver spot on my hand; and, the most depressing sign of all, I think I’m developing gout.
I also seldom listen to music radio. Instead, I wallow in nostalgia by tuning into Radio 4 Extra and listening to vintage comedy shows that stopped being broadcast before I was even born. And even if I do fancy some music, the only station I turn on is Absolute 80s, as I try to recapture a youth that was, if memory serves me correctly, just as dull and uneventful as my middle age.
The day before my birthday, a friend hit me with the sort of philosophical question I’d never considered. He asked: “If you were given the choice, would you rather carry on as you are – with another seven years until you’re 60 – or skip straight to 60 and take retirement?”
After we’d agreed to put aside the implausibility of the scenario owing to the lack of a time machine (and a suitable pension) I considered the suggestion, and, after thinking solidly for the best part of 30 seconds, admitted I’d dump the seven years and go for the retirement option.
This caused consternation among friends and family present who could not comprehend why I would be prepared to forego seven years of my life. “Think of what you could achieve in those seven years,” mused one friend. My response, that having achieved almost nothing tangible in 53 years – outside of a successful marriage and three great kids – the chances of me attaining some meritorious level now seemed highly unlikely, was greeted with grudging acceptance throughout the gathered throng.
That was until my friend’s seven-year-old daughter piped up with: “But what would happen if you don’t live until you’re 60 …?” Kids eh? Thanks heavens we don’t have that time machine option yet …
HARRY STOTLE, 2015AD