I always hoped I’d be a bit different as I got older – I remember when I was younger, deciding to myself that it would be different for me. I wouldn’t allow myself to decay and fall apart like the Aztec ruins around the place, taking their cod liver oil tablets and complaining about their backs. I didn’t want to be one of those who stopped drinking coffee after three in the afternoon, needed a nap or had a nice soothing cup of green tea of an evening.
I always vowed to myself that I’d never be one of those decrepit older people, and yet at 32 I find myself shuffling around hunched over like a bag lady if I sleep funny or don’t drink enough water. As I write this, I’m sitting on the sofa with a big steaming mug of lemon and ginger tea (but at least it isn’t green. Filthy stuff), warming my hands between paragraphs and allowing myself to be distracted by nagging thoughts of what I need to buy at the shop tomorrow. Bread and eggs, by the way, remind me.
I groan when I get in and out of the car, and my hair is evaporating like a puddle in a heatwave. I went camping in August and I had a sore neck for six weeks afterwards. I think it was because of the cold. Or the damp. Or my airbed. Or the fact that I was lying in the middle of a field at night instead of the warm embrace of my comfortable bed. Which is inside, because that’s sensible and what people have been doing for many hundreds of years.
These days I feel old because someone famous is born after 1990, or I realise that someone born in early 1998 – NINETEEN-NINETY-EIGHT – would have been old enough to vote in the most recent elections. It’s enough to make me want to hide under the duvet and never emerge again. Which would be a great excuse to buy a commode. I might happen to mention a film that came out in 2000 to a 15-year-old and they’ll look at me derisively, saying that they don’t watch old films. That being their equivalent of the outrageously dull black and white films they used to show on Channel 4 of a Saturday afternoon when I was young, bed-blocking the telly schedules with crap for ancient people.
I’ll start to weep when I realise that to this dismissive 15-year-old, the Spice Girls are basically the same as Abba or the Beegees were to me at the same point in life. Ancient history, classical music, the stuff of a bygone, dust-laden era. It’s enough to induce chest pains, or at the least a light headache.
I find myself looking for a car with a nice comfortable ride and an automatic gearbox, just because. These days, taking a risk is something I associate with buying a new brand of hummus, or trying a different sort of coffee. I don’t like to be in bed too much past 10pm, and if I am going to be out late I’d prefer to drive rather than get the train or the bus, because it’s so cold outside and much more convenient to be able to roll up to the front door.
I always vowed I wouldn’t be one of those people who becomes overwhelmed by technology, but every new phone that comes out perplexes me further. Kids these days grow up with extra muscles for pinching and zooming and swiping that I simply don’t possess.
Like the dinosaurs, or the Labour party, I find the world leaving me behind. Like a just-missed bus I watch the back of my hopes and dreams driving down the road, choking in the dieselly fumes. It’s hard, getting old – and I rather suspect that by the time I get used to it, I’ll be dead.