Wednesday, 03 June 2020
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

I am getting older, not wiser!

By  Dec 15, 2019

It wasn’t traumatic at all. It didn’t hurt one bit. Although I was completely passive in the whole situation really. I have just reached a milestone birthday. They say that 40 is the new 30, and 50 the new 40, basically because people are living much longer than before.

So I am now half a century old. Although I don’t feel much older than I did when I finished school to be honest. Maybe I am a real life Benjamin Button! I don’t have the urge to go on a cruise or to buy some new reading glasses. In fact, I don’t feel old at all. Is there something wrong with me? I am far from dreaming of retirement. Although with the pension age changing all the time who knows how many years I actually have left.

Apparently the life expectancy of a man is now 82 years-old, meaning that the significance of turning 50 is less dramatic than before. If I have been born in the Middle Ages than at 50 I would have been a truly old as the life expectancy was around 31. I have no plan to slow down, to ease off, far from it, now is the time to live life with lungs full and the throttle pressed down to the floor. I guess I could expect a mid-life crisis to hit me soon. But as I have never really grown up in my mind then even that experience could well pass me by. I should really grow up and act my age. But again, there is no chance of that happening.

I am getting older, not wiser! They say that age is all in the mind. Well if that’s true then I am still 12 years-old. I have never been one to celebrate birthdays that much, like I said I was completely passive in the whole arrangement of being born. So, with this tradition in mind, I had a relatively peaceful day to mark passing 50 years since the day I emerged into the light. And no, Kolinda didn’t sing at my birthday party!

I now qualify to go on a SAGA holiday, a fact that didn’t pass this UK travel agent, as the day before my birthday I got an email from them wishing me happy birthday and asking if I wanted to sign up to a newsletter. As I read their email I was struck that all the photos looked like my grandparents on holiday, was I kidding myself or did I really look like the grey-haired pensioners? We used to joke that SAGA stood for Sex And Games for the Aged. Is the joke on me now? Should I now be going on a themed holiday, like a gardening tour or a golfing trip? Needless to say the SAGA congratulatory email wasn’t the only one I received. Private pensions, life insurance and even planning for my funeral were all subjects that filled my inbox. If I didn’t any older reaching 50, I did when I opened my mail.

Time truly does fly. When I used to hear my parents say “Where did the time go?” I would shrug my shoulders and wave it away. But now that I am getting older (only slightly) I have started to relate to that sentence. We all have around 80 summers on this earth, that’s it, and nobody is looking forward to the last few summers. Carpe diem is the new phrase to live my life by. Maybe I am getting slightly reminiscent, which is strange as I have always tried to live by looking forward and not back. I don’t keep many photo albums, almost none to be honest. I seem to be able to erase bad memories with a built-in delete button. I never think, “I wonder what could have been”, rather “Let’s try something new.”

This is probably one of the reasons why my fiftieth birthday that much of a big deal. Even though SAGA would have me believe that my days are numbered I am not counting the days left, but counting the things I still want to do. Kind of like a bucket list. But I hate the phrase bucket list as it also feels like a countdown. As the great Helen Mirren once said “Listen to your gut and your head. Learn how to say f*** off. I was much too old when I learned that.” I am not going to grow old gracefully. No chance. I have many more dreams and experiences still to fulfil. “It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams,” wisely wrote Gabriel García Márquez.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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