As we get older many things change. The kids have left home (yay!), it takes longer to get ready in the mornings (boo!) and you have a lot more hair but not where you want it.
Unfortunately there are many things about getting older that we need to know but no-one tells us. Getting older doesn’t come with a user manual. It should. We need one, desperately. There are thousands of books on how to bring up your children and confusing the hell out of you in the process (Hint: just buy one book) but nothing about the etiquette of getting on in years.
So I have come to your rescue and listed not only the things you need to know about, but I have also put them into two simple categories.
So here goes. The lists are;
– What you need to do more of
– What you need to do less of
It will make sense as we go on…I hope.
What you need to do more of:
- Look for unsightly hairs. I sometimes do this and reel back in horror at how long they can be and where they can grow. Honestly, they are like weeds and it is your civic duty to remove them all before venturing outside…please!
- Allow more time to get ready to go out. This is partly due to the above issue but also because it simply takes you more time to do things now. You do not want to be rushing around at the last minute because hips are the first thing to break when you trip over your cat. The second thing? Your spouse, as they break into hysterical laughter.
- Always know where the toilets are. This used to be just a handy piece of information, but now it could mean the difference between dignity and utter humiliation.
- Wear more clothing. Your flesh may still be yours but it doesn’t listen to you anymore. It sags, it grows spots and it certainly cannot be shown at the beach. Budgie smugglers or bikinis at your age will get you an automatic fine and jail time. Or at least it should.
- Sitting down. Yes it is boring but if you decide to heroically stand because there are older people in the room your back will kill you, slowly, over many painful days. Oh, and the older people in the room that you stood up for so they could sit down? They’re the same age as you!
- Listen more. Or at least try to. Putting on a thoughtful expression helps to hide the fact that you have no idea what young people are saying anymore.
- Reading. Definitely more. At our age we realise that we don’t know everything, that we probably didn’t know everything when we were eighteen after all, and we never will know everything. The good news? You can do this sitting down.
- Be on time. Unfashionably late does not exist anymore at your age, so you are going to have to be on time more than you are used to. If people ask you over to their place for a meal (unlikely given all the points above, let’s face it) at seven o’clock they actually mean seven o’clock. Now if you’re late you better have a damn good excuse – this is where tripping over the cat and breaking your hip actually becomes useful.
What you need to do less of:
- Looking closely into a well lit mirror. Yes I do realise that this conflicts with number one in the previous list. The trick is to do this quickly so you have enough time to spot the wayward hairs but not enough time to see yourself in closeup. It is an art so you will need to practice this one.
- Eating. Trust me, that last piece of chocolate cake is definitely not worth it! Do you really want to be constipated for the next few days and feel like you swallowed a brick?
- Sport. Or any physical activity really. Lying on the floor in agony for a week is not fun so know your limitations and do not play beach cricket anymore. Or beach footy. Actually it is safer to avoid the beach completely, trust me.
- Alcohol. You knew it was coming so stop that groaning! You may have been the life of the party after a couple of wines a few years ago, but now you’re slumped half way down the chair in the corner, dribbling. And the people who you came with? They’re drawing straws to see who is unlucky enough to take you home.
- Technology. If it is moving too fast for young people to keep up with then what chance, seriously, do you have? My advice is to just let go, practice saying “It changes so often these days!” (hopefully not just after you asked the salesperson for a floppy disc – must be that damn hip again). Seriously though, if young people are saying it then you can too. So practice. Less technology means less embarrassment.
- Talking. After everything I have just told you are you really brave enough to join a conversation, let alone start one?
- Eating anything hard. Teeth are very expensive, so please look after the ones you have left. Oh and I should also warn you about anything chewy. Apart from taking two hours to eat, it sticks to your teeth which is dangerous when you swallow, as your teeth may still be attached.
- Exercising in public. Not only would this erode any self-respect you have left, there is a very good reason why they do not sell gym memberships to people in your age group. It scares their customers away.
I hope this has been useful. Getting older is like removing a band-aid, it is best just to rip it off and see what is underneath. And it’s not pretty.
If it is any consolation, take a look at the young, happy, smiling, think-they-are-beautiful young people around you. In no time at all they will be experiencing weird hair growth and fragile hips. And they have no idea what is ahead of them.
Ah, the joy of contemplating this knowledge makes it almost worth getting older.