Monday, 16 August 2010

When is "old"?

Age is something that creeps up on us all and a bit more is creeping up on me in a fortnight's time when I turn 44. We were talking about age on Sunday when the discussion turned to how some people embrace being 'old' and are quite happy to snuggle up into its slippers, cardies, daytime TV and regular trips to the doctor to see about their 'troubles'.

Others, it seems, are less likely to do that and we now have plenty of role models - in the form of the wild rockers of the sixties, Jagger, McCartney, Ozzie et al, and Jerry Hall, Joanna Lumley and Vivienne Westwood - who are ageing in a glorious mixture of gracefulness and disgracefulness.

Who was it who said the sign of a good life was when you fly through the Pearly Gates arse first, on fire screaming "woo hoo what a ride"?!

Anyway when I got home after my day out I discovered what my 72-year-old mother had been doing all day:

All of those were baled on our top fields (so called because we're down the bottom and the land slopes upwards to where we grow our hay). Then then have to be spiked and brought down the slope individually and lined up to be wrapped.

So my aged parent spent the day driving this up and down a steep slope with each of those huge bales of haylage spiked on the back of it:

Actually this isn't our tractor, this is the one from Shaun the Sheep, but to all intents and purposes it's identical.

I'd say it'd feel like a long old life if one decided that 44 was middle-aged (how I hate that term!) and sat on the sofa drinking tea watching daytime repeats of Cash in the Attic. I used to worry that ageing brought with it the need to wear fluffy slippers and watch game shows (shoot me!) but fortunately there's no sign of that yet.

I'm not sure when you become 'old' but it's obviously a state of mind rather than anything to do with what's written on your birth certificate. Hopefully it's genetic too. I'd like to think I'll be driving the tractor when I'm 72. I don't drive it now. Far too dangerous!


  1. Naaaa! There is no way you're going to be a pipe and slippers merchant, Mags, and what an example you've got with your ma.

  2. horrid, isn't it! We've a shop in the village with lurching manequins clad in the most vile pastel two pieces aimed at the elderly. I've told E to push me off a cliff if ever I show an interest in the window. Please, not yet, not yet!
    Anyway, some people are dead dull and old and boring at 25.

  3. Great model of ageing in your mum! I've just taken up running having reluctantly acknowledged that, at 55, if I want to walk long distance paths and scramble up Alps, which I do, I can no longer just turn up once a year and have a go. I love being in my fifties, seem to have the best of all possible worlds, more time to myself, more money, not yet decrepit. Onward and upward I say!

  4. "Old" is the word an eighty-something woman used to describe her ninety-something neighbour. It is, indeed, largely a state of mind thing.

    "Antique" is the word to describe this Bear, who will reach the "age of certifiable decrepitude" in a month's time. Oh, to be 44 again!

    Well, um, maybe not. Nowadays: walking the dog 2 kms, twice a day; exercising with weights; writing. This getting old (= retiring) stuff isn't so bad. I can play in the garden all I want, and I don't HAVE to come in from the rain.

    And I admire your mom, for what she's capable of doing, and what she is doing.

    And, you're quoting (sort of) Hunter S. Thompson, creator of "Gonzo journalism," writer of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I can't find the actual quotation.

  5. Found it! (Had to hunt a little more.)

    “Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”

    And, yes, it is from Hunter S. Thompson.

  6. Warning (by Jenny Joseph). When I am an old woman I shall wear purple.

    Oh and I'm practicing hard now. And just started running again at 49, to keep my fitness levels up. Hope I can bank some good health and be in your mum’s league at 72.

    I hope you had a nice 'relaxing' day out whilst your Mum was busy ;) All credit to her.

  7. This 64-year-old would like to say that your mom is certainly setting a grand pace!

    Not everyone keeps their health decade after decade, but I think that each of us can do a lot to just our bodies and minds mobile. Can't see how watching television helps.

    Best wishes. xo

  8. Chris - Pipe! Now there's a thought...!
    Milla - Ugh vile two pieces. Never!
    elizabethM - Just taken up running? Fantastic!
    Rob-bear - Thanks for locating the quote. The original is more eloquent than I remembered! I forgot about the champagne and chocolate.
    Lins - I'm going to dye my hair purple to match my clothes when I'm old.
    Frances - I missed out the health part but that's because I once knew a terminally ill person who was older - but younger - than me despite everything.

  9. Though I have my ups and downs with her, I'd love to be able to boogie board like my MIL at the age of 70!!!!

  10. I think 'old' is when ones faculties go, when one can no longer move about and more to the point, when one has lost interest in everything. On the other hand, any of those can happen at any age.

    I'm 59. It's not much different from any other age.


I am sorry to have to add word verification thing again but I keep getting spammed.