The Art of Growing Old Disgracefully

The Art of Growing Old Disgracefully

I have a birthday this week. Not THE birthday, just A Birthday.

I want to celebrate my birthday in the manner I’ve always celebrated by birthdays. Dancing in a nightclub until I can’t feel my feet for two days. I know. I’m ‘supposed’ to have grown out of that aren’t I?

So that’s the rub: Act young and you might get thought tragic. Act older and it’s – well – it’s boring.

I know that I shouldn’t care what people think, and I should love every new line – but when I find myself in front of the mirror holding up parts of my face to see whether I should call Anne Robinson’s surgeon yet, I know that I do.

Thanks to the constant bombardment from the media and cosmetics industries I want to know how to drink from the fountain of eternal youth and ‘grow old gracefully’.

“Look here’s Jane Fonda – she looks so YOUNG at 77”. “Look here’s Madonna, how dare she wear fishnet tights at 58”. Argh!

Also, while we are on the subject of ageing – can I just say – when I answer ’21’ when asked how old I am – it is NOT polite to laugh THAT hard. It just isn’t. I might be. I got asked for ID in a bar last week which buoyed me greatly until I saw them also card a bald man who came in just after me.

Our generation are being dubbed the ‘eternal adolescents’ and not in a complimentary way. Despite this, I am going to adolescently rebel against the label.

Growing old disgracefully is an art-form of its own and one which I intend to master.

Firstly – I DO have responsibilities, I even have a mortgage and a pointless pension. That does not mean that I have to transition IN FULL away from the stuff I’ve enjoyed doing since long before adolescence.

So, I am promising you, dear reader, not ever to grow out of the things which make me feel good and youthful. If any of those things include wearing hotpants and fishnet tights, a la Madonna, then take it on the chin, quite frankly.

Here are my Top Five Things which are probably meant for kids which I intend to keep doing:

1) Amusement Parks. Universal Studios is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year so if it’s cool with rollercoasters and thrill-rides then I certainly am. There’s nothing that can induce pure joy-filled laughter quite like being thrown around on a 3-D ride with Minions.

2) Dancing. Anywhere and everywhere I can. Preferably on an elevated surface in a great club, but more often than not in my kitchen. But like no-one is watching. Mainly cos they aren’t – they’re all too busy with there smartphones.

3) One Direction. They may be one member down, but I still get a quiver at Harry and I fully intend continuing this shameless crush. I went to see 1D in Los Angeles at the Rose Bowl and dragged along a bearded heterosexual 35-year-old male who had barely heard of them to accompany me. The ENTIRE time we got looks from other people our age who assumed we were a couple (we are not) who gave us a roll of the eyes that only one parent to another parent can give. I realised they were giving me the – ‘aren’t we good, bringing our kids to this screaming nonsense’ – roll of the eyes. I must have been the only person in my thirties that didn’t have children. I just kept pretending I’d lost them – much less awkward than having to explain to 30,000 parents that we’d attended without any. Admittedly I was not into them when I was a teen, but this makes the list as they are – apparently – aimed at people younger than me. Oh Harry. Purr.

4) Wanting pink hair. I see no reason to ever stop coveting this look. Iggy Azalea and Madonna have both dyed the tips of their hair pink since I tried it FIRST.

5) Car karaoke. It really needs no explanation. There’s no greater pleasure. If you’re next to me in the traffic, I’m not just having a massive argument with myself, I’m half way through the Taylor Swift back catalogue.

As George Bernard Shaw pointed out, ‘we don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing’.

So keep playing, just be careful you don’t put your hip out…

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