Monday, 4 February 2013

THE TRUTH ABOUT GETTING OLD....


Note: 7 June 15
I wrote this over two years ago and have since got even older!!!  I recently read this quote on the (excellent) blog of Paula Nancarrow (@prnancarrow on Twitter):  
 Forty is the old age of youth, and fifty is the youth of old age.  

Isn't that great?  It's SO right.  All the time I was in my forties I felt the same as I had in my youth, did the same stuff, wanted the same things, but felt the time passing... then, almost as soon as I reached 50, it was like that 'youth' door shut, and I was happy to have it do so.  I still feel as though I have some great stuff to come, and love having climbed 'over the hump', but am aware that I've begun a new phase in my life. Anyway, here were my random and mostly lighthearted thoughts on the whole business, from a couple of years ago (since when my knees have got even worse!!)....
 

It's not just that you haven't heard of any of the bands/acts in the Top 40, it's that you don't care that you haven't.  (Severe cases will still call it ‘The Hit Parade’) 

Remember these?


Similarly, you see strange words trending on Twitter, click on them to see what they are, and discover they're some band you've never heard of. They all look like children to you. You consider posting a Lou Reed video but don't get round to it...

In order to get yourself going in the morning, you don’t just need a strong cup of coffee.  You need several - and a can of WD40.
Remember when you used to hate staying in on a Saturday night?  Now, don’t you hate it if you have to go out?
...your idea of a good Saturday night is probably, like mine, a nice bath, clean bedclothes, and a jolly good film, watched in bed …

To think I used to go and do this sort of thing BY CHOICE....


(actually, thinking of a ‘nice bath’ as something of a treat is another tell-tale sign!)

D'you remember about fifteen years ago when, if you’d put on a ‘few pounds’, you could just diet for a fortnight and it’d be gone?  Doesn’t work anymore, does it?

In your twenties, you and your friends have phone calls to discuss men and clothes.  In your thirties, it’s jobs, children, weight.  In your forties you discuss ‘life’.  In your fifties, you compare ailments … okay, you tell me about your cataracts, and then we’ll do my arthritic knee… 

The actors you fancy on telly have grey hair and laughter lines aplenty …


… yes, the men you fancy get older - unless you are a cougar.  If anyone calls you that, punch them.  No, it doesn’t mean a foxy older sex siren.  It means a desperate woman of a certain age who is still trying to get off with men younger than her bra size.  Being called a MILF, however, is a compliment!

But what the hell - bet you don’t care so much what people think about you.  Isn’t that great? 

You probably speak your mind a bit more, too … perhaps you're becoming a bit of a dotty old bird, without realising it... this is me and my similarly old and peculiar sister - or is it Wayne's World??


You can now look at fresh-faced young women and admire their beauty, without feeling jealous; they're so far away from you that they might as well be another species.

Look - no sagging jowls!!  (me on the right, aged 30)


You find that you’re more accepted by older, straighter people.  The sort that used to look at you with a faint air of disapproval/envy/discomfort.  This is because you no longer appear edgy, hip, groovy and 'out there'.  Well, not on first impression, anyway....

However many early nights you have, however many AFDs (alcohol free days), you still don’t look as good as you did the morning after a whole weekend of debauchery ten years ago.

It’s so hard to find clothes that look nice without being too young for you or too middle aged, but that still disguise all those bits of you that aren’t as pretty as they once were....

You've probably been saying things like 'yes, well, life isn't fair' to your children/step-children/nieces and nephews for about ten years, now - you remember your father saying that to you?

If you are lucky enough to have parents still alive, you worry about them in the way they worried about you when you were a child

Do you remember the things your parents used to say when you watched Top Of The Pops?  Now, when you see the currently chart-popular on television, you say all those things, too.  "Why can't she just stand there and sing it without waving her arms around?"  "Why is he wearing that stupid hat?"




Your youth is a magic memory of long ago, when the world was so different, in so many ways...
... and you can bore for England talking about it, too ...

Isn't it nice?  You take more pleasure in standing and staring; the light in the sky, the leaves rustling in the breeze ~ ~ ~  and you do things like taking pictures of your houseplants to put on Facebook.




You start to see cycles in sociological attitudes, and realise that you probably can't change much about stuff and never could; and it's kinda nice not to have to get so het up about things anymore. Especially not when Corrie's on in a minute.

Hangovers last days, not hours.  That’s if you can manage to get drunk enough to get one in the first place, without falling asleep half way through, or asking for a nice cup of tea.

You find it frustrating that younger people don't take your advice.  You thought your dad didn't know what he was talking about as well, didn't you, eh?

Each birthday, you contemplate how old you are and think, how the hell did that happen?!


I'm the one in the white shawl - aged 10 days!


If you go to see your favourite old bands on their first tour for six years (or whatever), the audience is full of lots of grey haired people like you.

Trying to look younger than you are just makes you look daft; and don't get me started on people who are so insecure they have plastic surgery.  The Lady Penelope/Troy Tempest face is SO not a good look.



Oh, go on, then, let's have another one - here's the bird who used to play Valene Ewing in the original Dallas... after and before... 



Back to the truths about ageing.... yes, you complain about the younger generation's manners, standard of education, morals, etc.  Just like your parents did, and their parents afore them.  Yes, TV has dumbed down, youngsters grown increasingly disrespectful of authority and their elders, and some of it really does shock you.  

You probably look back on all your mistakes, sometimes. I bet you wouldn't change many of them, though, because they've made you the person you are now.  But you might still make mental lists of 'things I wish I'd known at 18'.  This used to be a regular feature in the Sunday Times when I was about 21.  I didn't understand it at the time; I read it, but of course I thought I was immortal, then, like all people of that age, and didn't realise that one day my whole life wouldn't be all stretched out in front of me, waiting to be filled.

When you were 20, you thought 40 was past it, didn't you?  When you're over 50, though, you realise that even 60 is still alive and kicking..!!

The best bit about getting old, though, is the fact that you've got there at all.




Amen!

45 comments:

  1. ha ha ha - that's a very long blog post, Ms Tyler! Some of the above is even pertinent to me, a mere pup of 40! But I recognise lots of the complaints above as having issued forth from the mouths of friends and relatives of that age group! Excellent post, as always, Sooz

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  2. Oh my goodness Terry! I am as old as the hills then! You've confirmed it and I can go to bed with my horlicks safe in the knowledge that I'm not the only one because you're older than me :P
    I have the big 40 birthday this year and I am debating whether to buy surgical stockings and steradent just in case ;-) xxx

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  3. If that is you in the '90's you're not even CLOSE to ancient, ha! But it sounds like you have some early wisdom. :)

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  4. Karen and Sooz, when I was your age I was still up and at 'em!!! Shame on you!!! Robin - I'm 53. 54 in August. See, I AM qualified to do the 'old and cool with it' stuff - proud to have been born in the 50s!! :)

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  5. You're just a babe Terry! I'm nearly five years older than you :-) But yes, being born in the fifties was good cos we got to be teens and twenty somethings in that brilliant decade the seventies. I know many young people now who wish they'd been there at that great explosion of musical creativity. We were very lucky and I love being 'old and cook with it' too :-) Great post! Gave me a really good chuckle - except those grim photos of Valen Ewing and Penelope Troy! I'll keep my floppy chin and smile to disguise it instead :-D

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    1. old and cook!! :) I'm glad you liked it! Indeed, I'd hate not to have been young in the 70s - all the bands I saw and how much simpler things were - no bouncers on the doors of the pubs, and girls used to go out with CLOTHES on!!! Well, jeans, in my case! :) Hmm.. I can feel a blog post about the 70s coming on..! :)

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  6. Sorry - typos again! That was 'old and cool' and Valene...

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  7. Amusing post Terry, enjoyed it! I think it's about becoming wiser rather than becoming old though, I'm defying old age :)
    Thanks,
    Jimi.
    (ps, your name/URL options don't seem to work, just being helpful)

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    1. Oh, okay, thanks Jim, not quite sure what to do about that, but glad you managed to comment - thank you for reading! I try to defy old age, but my knees say differently! :)

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  8. Enjoyed this Terry and was actually smiling as I read it. You say you were born in the fifties, I was lucky enough to know it rather better. A great decade!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Margaret - glad you liked it! Yes, I'd like to have been around in the 50s, too - with a BBC accent and in black and white!!

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  9. Hahahah. Sorry.... why did I come here? What was I going to say?

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  10. Great post, Terry. At 40 I already recognise so many of those traits, and have actually been exhibiting them for years! I think most people who are out on a Saturday night are just looking for someone to stay in with to be honest, and that's just one of the things I don't envy about 'youfs'! On the other hand, being able to diet for about six hours before I went out, and losing the 2lbs or so that meant I went back down to eight stone, that, I envy!

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    1. 'Being able to diet about 6 hours before I went out' - oh yes!!! I've been doing it for 6 weeks now, and it's only just starting to show!!

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  11. You don't look that old Terry! Still fab, whatever age you are. Old age only ever happened to old people right? That other species over there in the distance. I'm aware of two things 1) it's a privilege to get old (my sister lost her husband at 58) and 2) What was it? Oh yes - time is running out - make the most of it! Why on earth did I leave it so long to start writing - I had the idea when I was 7!
    alexxx8586.blogspot.com

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    1. Exactly - hence my last comment about the fact that you've got there at all - I didn't want to start talking about people dying early of stuff like cancer in such a light-hearted post! And you can carry on writing all your life...!

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  12. I went out in flowery leggings on my 49th birthday a couple of weeks ago. My 16 year old was outraged - "you're too old to wear those". And I didn't care!

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    1. Flowery leggings rock - yes, precisely!

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  13. I can relate to all that! I'm older than you, Terry but there's no way I'm growing old gracefully. Sod that for a game of soldiers. I wouldn't have a clue what to wear for one thing. My girls, two in their forties now, are used to Mum wearing the same stuff they do. Tight jeans are the replacement for crimplene pants with elasticated waists. Told my lot, if I die they'd better make sure my roots are done, no grey bits allowed, and I've got my makeup on. Can't leave this place with no lip-gloss and blusher at the very least. Really enjoyed the trip back in time there. Great fun. Pam :-)

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    1. Pam, I so agree with you! It't about 'youthful' not trying to look younger than you are, isn't it! Bugger the carefully toning separates - I'm still in leggings, boots and moderately groovy tops (and Aerosmith t-shirts around the house, of course!)

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  14. I laughed out loud at this, especially the things we now say about music videos! I'm delighted to report that I'm in 4 of these photos, once on my tiny trike, twice at Donnington Monsters of Rock in a David Lee Roth t-shirt over 20 years go, and once dressed as Mike Myers in Wayne's World, a couple of years ago. I'm 56 next month, and I don't want to hear any moaning about getting old from you whippersnappers approaching 40!

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  15. Great post, Terry. I don't care how old I am - just delighted I don't have to crawl out of bed at stupid o'clock in the morning ever again to go to work. I love being retired! And writing, and reading and reviewing, and being a granny and hanging around in sloppy clothes with no make-up, and more...

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    1. Liz, that is THE best thing, isn't it... I'm not a granny, I'm not even a mum (thank goodness), though many of my friends are - but yes, not going out to work anymore rocks. We've earned it!

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  16. Nothing wrong with a nice cuppa and Corrie!

    Louise - who can't believe how quickly it's all gone.

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  17. I can relate to so much of what you've written, Terry! I agree with Elizabeth Jasper. I love being retired :-)

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  18. I'll be 5O this year and glad to know I'm not alone in my thoughts and realisations!

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    1. Louise, Rio, Siobhan and Sue - thanks for your comments! I loved 40 but was a bit hmmmm about 50 - but being over 50 is great. I love being older. Could do without the saggy jowls, but on the whole I love it!

      Thanks to everyone for reading! :)

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  19. As I reach the latter end of my 5th decade I can relate to ALL of this! I feel like a 20-yr old trapped on an ancient body - much enthusiasm, but a lack of physical ability! ;-)

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  20. ARGH! Valene Ewing, what HAVE you done? Pleased to see my favourite Terry and Julia pic made it into the blog.

    Although my body is 50, my head is still 21 and telling me not to be so bloody stupid. 8.30 at the weekend is NO time to be going to bed and 'comfy' shoes look shit......

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  21. Ha ha! Your ancient photo booth image brought back so many memories. I have one (or more) just like it. In mine I tend to wear that wide-eyed, startled-rabbit look. I think it had something to do with having to wait those few uncertain seconds for the flashlight to go off between takes (didn't we get three photos on a strip?). I always wanted to blink at the wrong moment.

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  22. Fun post!
    Something that happens to me that reminds me how old I am is when someone says that they like the Beatles and I say, "Oh, I saw them in concert, in '66."
    Then when they act surprised, I say, "But, I was really young."

    Thanks for a good laugh.
    Jim

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  23. Thanks, Sue H, Andrea, JE and Jim for reading! Yes, I saw AC/DC in 1975, Jim - and Andrea, how could I not put that pic in!!

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    1. Innit just - got to be there to know it!

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  25. Hi Terry - I loved this! So many truths. And I'm very inspired to find out that we are exactly the same age! The only difference being that, since I'm the oldest mother of a 7 year-old in East Anglia (lol) I necessarily spend much of my time doing/thinking about/speaking about things that 20 and 30 year-olds do! Keeps me young. Or makes me old with worry - not sure which.

    By the way, thanks for all your RTs on Twitter - much appreciated!

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    1. Oh Margaret, nuts to being old - though in some ways I actually like it! I like knowing that all that monthly stuff is behind me anyway (sorry if that's TMI, gents...!) I think knowing being interested in current pop culture is something you either are or aren't, no need to force it, but I tend to take note of things my nieces say, and my friends in their 20s - it's useful for novels, anyway - my oldest characters are in their early 40s but I write mostly about people in their 30s. And please, please, never think you have to say 'lol'....

      Ditto re thanks for RTs, and give my love to Cromer and Norwich!

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  26. Great post, Terry! Made me smile. Love the old photos! And you're definitely not old!!

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    1. Old enough to have lived through my teens in the 1970s, Maria - a very different world!

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  27. Great observations, although you're still a child to me. Try 1964 as your heyday! Why don't fashion houses make great clothes (not covered in sequins)for 50+? All they'd have to do is bring the necklines up a bit to cover the wrinkly skin, but, above all, make sleeves a touch longer to hide the batwings.
    Anyway, though I agree with you about chasing after younger men, I've a thought for you - or rather a question. Do old ladies fantasize? Yes. Do old ladies fantasize about old men? No. Draw your own conclusions.

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  28. A wonderfully observant and nostalgic blog.

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  29. The songs listed in "Top of the Pops" were way after our time. We were still listening to the Goon Show and Billie Cotton Band Show on the radio in the 50's. If I remember correctly top tunes we "I see the moon and the moon sees me" and Eddy Calvert's "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White". Still a lovely haunting elody.

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  30. Brilliantly observational as always T!! Loved it...and agree with so much! I have a wedding to go to in a couple of weeks and so much effort has gone into finding an outfit that frankly I still feel and look dreadful in, yet my daughter could drape a bit of hessian sacking around herself and manage to look fabulous!! Those were the days eh *sigh*

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    1. I feel your pain, G! Wedding outfits - hell, yes, especially summer ones. It kind of HAS to be a flowery sort of dress, doesn't it... I was never much good at them even when I was younger because I've got a thick waist, even when the rest of me is quite slim, and so dresses are the worst thing I can wear. Urgh!!! x

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  31. Picked up on this just now after I passed the mirror to the bathroom - still alive and kicking then, am I? Hmmm!

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    1. Well, perhaps alive and lifting your leg in a half-hearted manner!

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