Thursday, 15 March 2012

Oh my God there’s a Raging Inferno in the Kitchen – Oh no Wait it’s just the Candles on my Birthday Cake!

This week DraMattics is celebrating its 30th blog entry, sadly I’m about to celebrate a similar anniversary, so it seems rather appropriate to tackle that thorny subject of age.

Ever had someone ask you how old you are, and then when you reply with you REAL age, they say the phrase “In your head maybe, go on what’s your real age?”. This is always a comforting reaction to admitting your age, in that sort of way that having an armed squad from the KGB smash in your windows and hold you at gun point is comforting.

To avoid the inevitable awkwardness of having to guess my real age is I can tell you now, that contrary to popular opinion it’s not 21, but I’m in fact 29 but not for much longer, 30 is looming like Eric Pickles looming over an all-you-can-eat buffet, hence the reason I feel this conversation is specifically pertinent.

As I get towards the age where the London Fire Brigade need to be called to put out the candles on my cake, I’m forced to question at what point am I old, and at what point is it ok to moan about being old? Is 30 old? It would be old for a cat but young for a cast member of Last of the Summer Wine, so I guess like all things its relative.

Which brings me to the next point, friends of mine who are closer to 40 have claimed that I have no right to moan about being old? Really? But what about a 50 year old, surely they would say the same to thing to the aforementioned 40 year old, if he moaned about being old. Extending this logic surely the only person allowed to moan would be the oldest person alive, as they bore the second oldest person alive with statements beginning “You think you’re old…”. But surely if you follow my earlier logic a two-year old can moan at a one-year old about how young they are, which to be honest I don’t mind if it’s done with appropriate wit and comic flare.

Clearly neither of the extremities I have detailed above are any more correct than the fact that Kerry Katona’s allowed to breed and she hasn’t been chemically sterilised for the good of the gene pool. So what age is it ok to moan about being old? To add to the evidence only a few weeks ago I was telling a friend who’d just turned 23 to “shut up” after they moaned about being old. If that’s the case what gives me the right a mere seven years later to do the same?

Well in fairness I think there’s one very good reasons why the mid-twenties (and by that I mean late-twenties, but at least it’s still the twenties), are the time to start moaning about your age. Because this is the first time in your life you start to realise you’re not the youngest any more. Fair enough people in their thirties are older, but it’s in your late twenties when you first realise you are at the top of a slippery slope. It’s here at the top of a hideous metaphorical helter-skelter ending in a pit of spikes somewhere around the eighties mark, that you realise thirties are your inevitable destiny, just as forties are the destiny of those in there thirties and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

You see between 18 and 25 you can claim you’re young, because no one’s younger than you. Of course there are children, but there have always been children, and you’re used to children being younger than you from school. In school children are segregated entirely by age, and there was an advantage to being older, as older kids got to beat up younger kids/take their pick over who got anally bu**ered (dependent on whether you were state or private educated). No the late twenties are the first time there are genuine adults younger than you, and not even ones you can excuse away with the fact they are at university so there still kids really. I have two 25 year old people working in my office (who nominally I’m in charge of, though they have other ideas), they’ve been to uni, and whilst I think of them as kids, they’re proper genuine adults and they are clearly younger than me! Up until the mid to late twenties this has never happened before; people younger than me have always been children.

Additionally you spend the first twenty years of your life believing your body will never age, the most traumatic thing to drop out of your body are your teeth and your testis (but you get a new set of at least one of these). Now hair’s starting to fall out, except for my nose which is now sprouting hair so fast a team of landscape gardeners needs to be called in. Seriously if don’t do at least a weekly root around the nasal area with a shaver I start to look like that attachment you put on the vacuum cleaner when you want to do the skirting boards. I’m also coming to the inescapable conclusion that my face is slowly starting to slide down my head, there seems to be a build-up of excess skin around the chin area, at this rate by the time I’m fifty my face will look much like my scrotum. Though in fairness I’m less likely to get arrested for waving it around in a school playground.

And then there’s my health and physical fitness, gone are the days where I can eat what I want, no longer am I able to hide successive days of junk food binging without worrying. Now a pizza binge manifests itself so that under poor lighting I look like I could be a few months pregnant. And as for exercise, it becomes that much harder for that much less reward, gone are the days where a quick 5 mile jog started the day and got me off to a bouncy start. Now running for the Tube makes me more breathless than an asthmatic in the vacuum of space.

There’s also the worry about things you can’t do any more, as a child getting older meant there were more things you can do drinking, driving, lottery, buying pornography without the need for a step ladder. The only things you stopped being able to do was go to the under 8s ballet class, and then that was alright because you got to go the 9-12 year olds ballet class. As you get to the late twenties, you’re simply not allowed to do things any more, I’m questioning whether I should go on an 18-30 holiday now before it’s too late. Yet the concept of an 18-30 holiday utterly despises me, but what if on the day I turn 31 I suddenly decide that I really want to vomit all over beautiful areas of the Mediterranean, hang my undergarments off a lamppost and go to a foam party and have more inappropriate fun with bubbles than Michael Jackson ever managed?

So you see I admit that 30 is not that old in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the end of that crucial age where nature finally reminds you that you are going to be old. As superhuman and as invincible as you may have seemed during childhood, 25-30 is the age at which your body starts to rebel, at which the signs of age start to show you that soon you will look like a Colonel Gadaffi body double with exactly the same employment prospects. You may not be old yet, but you’re no longer young and no matter what you thought, your body is deserting you, it won’t be long before when you stand up your knees make a sound like an old dial-up modem connecting to the internet. Or put another way the late twenties-early thirties is the age where getting older starts turning s**t, under 25 and there’s usually a bonus to getting old, over 30 and you already know your life is s**t so you shouldn’t be surprised! There the perfect conclusion to an argument on why turning 30 is the worst age to be, I think it makes sense, but it might not – my brain is old now.

So there you go, the official point at which my mental breakdown at turning 30 starts is here. Don’t worry there’s a few more blogging opportunities between now and the big day for me to cry. And when I say big day, it will actually consist of me crying into a large tub of Ben & Jerry’s with a candle in, because I’ve dropped the spoon on the floor and my stiff old back won’t let me bend down and pick it up.