As I alluded to in last week’s entry, Wednesday was my birthday, and I am now officially one year older (as tends to be the way with birthdays).
My body clock has ticked around by one. I have added another mile to the odometer that is my life. The Earth has completed one more orbit around the sun, since the date of my birth, on 8th February 1980. The sands of the hourglass, which represent my existence… ah, fuck it, you get the idea.
I don’t tend to dwell on birthdays that much (although, if you read the corresponding blog entry from this time last year, you will know that I came up with 36 reasons why turning 36 was shit – https://middlerageddad.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/happy-blogday-to-me), but 37 does strike me as a particularly pointless age to be.
For starters, you can forget telling people you are in your ‘mid-30s’, because even though that may be arguable from a mathematical viewpoint, for some reason the year between your 36th and 37th birthdays, is the precise time of your life when everything on your body suddenly deteriorates, so no one will believe you. At 36, if you are lucky, you can pass for someone in their early thirties, or maybe even late twenties, but at 37, you bloody look 37 (and feel 47). It’s all rather upsetting.
To be honest, I’d far rather have turned 40 – as at least that’s an excuse for a big party – than 37 (which, quite frankly, isn’t). I’m pretty certain that 37 is the most pointless age I have been since I was 15. Back then, I was old enough to celebrate my birthday properly, yet too young to (legally) drink, or drive, or do anything remotely grown up and fun. Now that I am grown up, and I am allowed to do whatever I want (so long as my wife grants permission), my body won’t allow me to. Ok, at 15 I was also spotty, hormonal, and socially awkward, but at least my fucking knees worked.
I don’t wish to drag the mood of this otherwise perpetually upbeat blog (shut it) into a downward spiral of despair, but I would like to explain why, for me at least, 37 is a profoundly disappointing age to be. Yes, I am well aware that this contradicts what I wrote about turning 36 last year, and that I promised: “there’s no way in hell, I’ll be able to do a list of 37 reasons to be grumpy next year”, but I was young and naïve then, and didn’t know how lucky I was. Besides, I still won’t be doing a list of 37 reasons why this age is even worse (I shall spare you that), but I will give you the main areas where I now feel older than ever. Because I am.
First up, let’s start with my fading memory.
I know I mentioned this last year (well, I’d forgotten, but I just re-read the corresponding entry), and I know everyone struggles to remember things as they get older, but in the last twelve months, I’ve suddenly started forgetting obvious stuff (who sang well-known songs, important dates, the names of our children…). It has now got to the point where it physically hurts to try and force myself to remember things, and the only positive to this, is that I can justify making more lists so I don’t forget. I bloody love lists.
A friend of mine (who, he won’t mind me saying, is a fair bit older than me) recently joked that his memory had got so bad, he had gone upstairs, reached the landing, then completely forgotten his reason for going up there. It was only as he descended the stairs again, and wet himself, that he recalled his initial intentions. I’m worried that this is where I’m headed. Which leads me nicely to my second point…
In particular, increasingly frequent trips to the bathroom. I have always had a relatively weak bladder, particularly when drinking alcohol, but in the past year, the time between my finishing a cup of tea, and being in critical need of a piss, has reduced to a little shy of seventeen minutes. In cold weather, you can virtually halve that.
I have also found that, as I approached 37, the balance between ‘stand up’ and ‘sit down’ wees, has shifted dramatically in favour of the latter. This is partly because I relish a nice sit down, far more than a man of my age should, but also because I can’t completely trust a fart anymore. This is not to say I am forever shitting myself, but there are times when, having opted for a sit down wee, it suddenly dawns on me that there is perhaps potential for a more ‘involved’ visit while I’m there (if nothing else, it’s a time saver, but I do worry that my advance warning system has started to falter slightly).
Sadly, much as I enjoy a good sit down wee (stop me if I dwell too much on my toileting habits, as I wouldn’t want to sink the blog into a mire of distasteful subject matter – seriously, shut it), this comes with the added danger of my knees locking if I spend too long sat down. Of course, this is the same for any prolonged sitting that I happen to partake in, but at least in other areas of the house I can ask for assistance getting up again, whereas I really don’t wish to burden my wife with helping me off the toilet (just yet).
Ok, let’s move away from toilet humour (although there was nothing humorous about the above from where I was sitting – which was probably on the loo), and turn to hair.
In the last twelve months, I have discovered my first (and then second and third) grey hairs. Thankfully, it seems to have stopped at three for now, and I know many people my age will have several more, but three is a shit number of grey hairs to have. I have no problem going grey, but I would far rather wake up one morning looking like Phillip Schofield (who, I think we can all agree, has provided the definitive master class in going grey with style), than face the dilemma of whether to try and disguise the three I have. Thankfully, my laziness easily supersedes any shred of remaining vanity, so I’ve just left them.
My hair line has also started receding. I’m not quite at Ant (from Ant and Dec) levels yet, who frankly has a forehead so large it’s now a ‘five-head’, but it’s getting there far sooner than I would have liked.
As a side point to the above – but related to my appearance – I just bit into an apple while typing this, and squirted juice all down my work shirt. I merely glanced down, smeared it a bit, then left it there. Really couldn’t give a shit.
When my family recently asked me what I would like for my birthday, I did wonder whether it would be acceptable to say ‘more socks’, barely five weeks after Christmas. I genuinely don’t know where they’ve all gone.
I also quite like getting new CDs, but I daren’t ask for some of the ones I really want, as I’ll only embarrass myself. You see, I’ve started to like some moderately trendy bands of late, and even I hate myself for listening to chart music at my age, even though it was in no way an attempt to appear young.
I have started to use the word ‘trendy’. Apparently.
I accidentally sat in a ‘priority seat’ on a train last week, and started to move when I realised my error, but then convinced myself that, if it came to it, I could probably argue my case.
I have also now reached an age where, apart from any travel companions of my own, I hate every other person on a train. All of them. Every single one.
I have already started planning my 40th, as at least that should be fun, so I might as well get 38 and 39 out of the way quickly (as, I am sure, they will, since there is no fucking way my birthdays are still 365 days apart). I am literally wishing the next two years away.
And, as soon as I typed that, I realised that my 40th is three years away, not two, which means that when my memory recently departed, she took ‘basic maths’ with her.
I have not been able to deal with hangovers for a while, but now find that I will get hungover from even the smallest amounts of alcohol. Seriously, I had three lagers the other week and, ok, I’m not used to drinking lager much anymore (it’s a young man’s drink), but I felt like shit the next day. That’s woeful.
It also meant that celebrating my actual birthday, on Wednesday (a ‘school night’), was simply out of the question, so I have had to postpone any proper drinking until tomorrow night (I’m out this evening playing middle-aged badminton), when I will have Sunday free to deal with any consequences.
Even then, I will most likely restrict my celebrating to a few beers, perhaps a rum and coke, and the Terry’s Chocolate Orange that I have been saving in the fridge all week. Oh, and I’ll probably be in bed by 10.30.