40 and 50 were bad enough but bloody hell.......60 ! I can't be 60 !!!
For goodness sake, when I was growing up, nobody LIVED to be 60. I remember people would say "you know, if Uncle Hugh were alive now, he'd have been 60." Things like that !
Actually I'm not quite 60 yet (got 43 days to go) but the date is looming large. I'm like the lookout guy on the Titanic except he never saw his large thingy looming until the last minute.
I've known about mine for a long time but it doesn't make it any less of a shock !
And I'm not. I'm really not.
I'm not ready to be one of those old guys I see in Leeds Market pulling a wheeled tartan shopping trolley behind them. I'm not ready to be buying one banana, one apple and one orange. I'm not ready for a cardigan. I'm not ready for enjoying Songs of Praise and Antiques Roadshow.
I'm not ready to be 60 !
But the signs have been coming. I already think of modern music as mostly irritating noise. If I see a group of young people on a street corner I assume they're up to no good. Policemen look like they should be in school. I fall asleep in the middle of tv shows. (Hell I fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon !) I don't understand why Lady Gaga is popular. I stand in the kitchen and can't remember why I'm there.
But it's not all doom and gloom. At bedtime, my teeth are still, for the most part, firmly rooted in my gums and not in a glass. When I pinch my skin it goes back, eventually. I don't have any aches and pains. I know who Justin Bieber is.
Despite what the mirror and my body tells me, in my head I'm not approaching 60. In my head I'm about 35. I look at old people and I think, that's not me, is it ? I mean I don't look like them to others do I ?
Young at heart. That's what they say, isn't it ? He's young at heart.
Well I'm young at heart I think. But then maybe those other old people are too. When does feeling young at heart stop ? When does reality kick in and we think....damn I AM OLD. 70 ? 80 ? Never ?
I'm sure good health plays a large part in this. It delays the onset of THINKING we're old. After all, my lack of aches and pains helps fuel my delusion that I'm really 35. I can still climb over fences and gates if I want to. I just don't want to. And it's got nothing to do with snapping bones. It hasn't.
Here in England, one gets thrown in a few goodies when one gets to 60. To help soften the blow perhaps. The problem is that being 60 doesn't mean you are a senior to everyone. In many cases, a senior discount is still a few years away yet. As is my free bus pass.
But prescriptions will become free so that'll save me about £100 a year. I'll get deals at the cinema. In fact I can surf the net and get discounts on everything from accommodation to funerals. Actually those two could be the same I guess !
And I discovered yesterday that I can golf at all 4 Leeds municipal courses for £8.40 (about $13) a round. Or at least I can when I reach 60.
Yes there will probably be lots of discounts available to me in 43 days time, even half price cardigans probably. But I'll still be 60 and have to get over the mental downer that inevitably comes with that age.
No matter how young at heart I feel and despite telling myself I'm really only 35, there is no getting away from thoughts about the future and what it holds. I find myself looking enviously at old couples still walking hand in hand along life's journey. They've long been at that point where few words are ever needed. They know what the other is thinking and when they look at each other, little knowing smiles pass between them.
Of course this could just mean that both have "let one go" at the same time but still.......
What will happen when I need help ? When I can't look after myself or live on my own ? Will there be anyone around to hear ME pass wind ? Scary thoughts indeed.
But do I live today worrying about tomorrow ?
A little, I guess. But I try not to. We all know that what can't be altered shouldn't be worried about. Ha ! If only it was that simple.
But that's for another day. When I get to 70 maybe. Or 80.
For after all, I'm ONLY approaching 60 and life begins at 60 (usually said by all those approaching 60).
So no cardigans for me. No tartan shopping basket. No Antiques Roadshow. No afternoon naps. Well not EVERY day anyway. Let's not be silly now.
For me it's going to be discounted golf and discounted trips to the movies. Maybe plan a few discounted coach trips to foreign parts and discounted visits to British castles and stately homes.
Yes I'm leaving Old Father Time on the subs bench. I may not be in my prime but I'm not ready to come off the pitch just yet !