February 27th, 2009

A Landmark

I passed a landmark on Monday. Our keep fit instuctor- who is 42 by the way- referred to me- without meaning it as a joke or a jokey insult or anything but a statement of fact- as an old person.

I have just turned 58.

I caught a glimpse of the back of my head in the gents at the Imperial War Museum on Tuesday.  My bald spot is getting to be one of my defining features. I'm as bald as Rudolph Hess was when he sat for Dame Laura Knight at Nuremburg.

Age is partly in the mind. My mother- at 87- isn't old.  Unlike me she can get down on her knees and up again without a whole lot of theatrical groaning.

Some people embrace old age- with its dubious privileges- as early as they can. Evelyn Waugh for instance. A friend of his reported that he seemed to age a decade with every year. We're never told exactly how old Waugh's avatar Pinfold is, but his fixity of mind, his crankiness, his physical wonkiness suggest that he must be at least 60- perhaps pushing 70- and it comes as something of a shock to learn that Waugh himself went through his Pinfold experience at 50.

Which is sillier- to pose as a crotchety old cuss before your time- or to be gulled into spending lots of money on anti-ageing creams, facelifts and the like?

I try to be realistic.  Getting old is an experience like any other.  Things happen to older people that don't happen to younger ones. I am determined to find it interesting...