Saturday, 06 March 2021
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better

By  Feb 06, 2021

“The first sign of maturity is the discovery that the volume button also turns to the left,” once famously said Jerry M. Wright. We have just celebrated a rather significant birthday, a landmark, in the Thomas household. Yes, my wife is slowly and surely catching me up but I doubt she ever will.

To be honest I have got to the stage when I have to think twice when people ask me how old I am. That’s probably another sign of aging.

Just last week I was writing an article about the popularity of pop stars on social media. As I was reading the data it struck me that I hadn’t heard of anyone on the list. I had no idea of what they sung or even what they looked like, and yet they were the major music influencers of today.

And then I realised something, I didn’t even care who they were.

I am finding that one major advantage of aging is that I just don’t give a damn anymore. I have trouble enough remembering pop stars from the 80’s there is no room left in my brain for anymore. And not to mention the influencers, YouTubers, Tik Tok stars and reality TV show contestants.

This creation of a perfect online persona for social media, using the right filter and saying politically correct things, is unfortunately something that passed my generation by.

And don’t get my started on fashion! There was a time, granted that was a long time ago, when I’d spend half my salary in the clothes shop. Now I’m just really looking for something that doesn’t hurt me when I sit down. I went from haute couture to haute comfort.

When I was younger, I wasted so much time obsessing over matters I couldn’t control. Not anymore! Remember those days when you’d spend all Friday planning your weekend so as not to waste a minute, when it was all about seeing and being seen. Whilst I still enjoying a good night out if I am at home and in bed by 9 I don’t care.

You get to a certain age when you finally realise what’s significant and what quite frankly is the fluff of life, and believe me there is a s**t load of fluff. Your brain sorts things as a) important (which is usually around 10 percent) and b) delete.

And we’ll all get old. No amount of Botox, cosmetic surgery or tablets will keep us young. The river of life only flows in one direction, and however many dams you put in the way the water will always find a way to flow. Of course you can still have fun, probably more, and grow old ungracefully. Which I fully intend to do!

Age is not how old you are, but how many years of fun you’ve had. And I’m planning lots more fun. As the great George Bernard Shaw once wrote “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” The same man who wrote “Those who seek paradise on earth should come to see Dubrovnik.” So I’m going to follow his advice to the letter and keep laughing in paradise on earth.

Of course, in my mind, I still have the body and fitness I did when I was in my twenties. Sadly, though, my body has a tendency to disagree with me if I push it too hard. And my mirror isn’t on my side either, which is why I’ve started to ignore it. Keeping my mind young, dusting off those grey cells, is becoming more important.

They say if you want to keep your mind young then mix with young people, which could be why so many professors marry their students. They are looking for the elixir of eternal youth. The English would say that you know you’re getting old when policemen look older than you. To be honest I gave up with policeman a long time ago, now I’m looking at the chief of police as a comparison.

And my Croatian adventure has seen me transform, in what seems to be a heartbeat, from being a “ti” to a “vi.” I used to jump in and correct people when they would say “kako ste” – “ no, please, call me ti.” But now I just think in my head – “Oh f**k it, who cares.”

I recently was given a book entitled “Are You Turning Into Your Dad.” My first thought was, if someone told me I was turning into my dad that would be the highest compliment I could ever receive. And as I flicked the pages I realised that I had turned into my dad a long time ago.

And I’ll leave you with a quote from the book from the one and only Ingrid Bergman – “Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better!” Amen to that!

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