Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Popping One's Clogs

My last post (or more specifically, its title) got me thinking about Red Dwarf. And in particular the episode where Rimmer and Lister perform a mind swap. For those of you who don’t know the show, Rimmer is a hologram (cos he’d dead) and gets to borrow Lister’s body for a week on the condition that he puts it through a rigorous training regime to get it back into shape. Rimmer, of course, reneges on the deal and goes on an extravagant orgy of eating and drinking. Lister is less than happy about this and accuses Rimmer of mistreating his body. Rimmer’s answer is that Lister has mistreated his body himself for years... and points out all the little pains, tweaks and twinges that Lister never ever mentions...

Now I’m not, by rule, a hypochondriac. By and large, like Lister, I ignore all but the most insistent messages that my body gives me. Or at least I did when I was younger.

Now that I’m 40 I’m suddenly becoming more aware of them. The slight headaches that come and go. The twinges in my guts. The aches in my elbows and my thumbs. The low level but nevertheless ever-present back pain.

Lying awake in the morning I can’t help but think my body is giving up whispering its messages to me and is now beginning to shout them at me through a loudhailer.

Are these all signs of my inescapable mortality?

I’ve never been one to dwell overlong on death and existentialism but I guess with my granddad grumbling his way through Death’s waiting room and a spritely 2 year old running around my home my thoughts are, quite naturally, being prodded into contemplating the great mysteries of life.

The last ten years of my life have flown by like they’re nothing at all – which is a little worrying for the next ten which will take me up to (gulp) the big 50. I’m already slowing down. I can feel it. My powers of recovery are weaker. I feel more tired more easily. I’m starting to really enjoy eating my greens. And, worst of all, I have stopped buying music.

I am becoming – slowly but perceptibly – old aged.

Mentally I still consider myself the same curmudgeonly, mean spirited grump that I was in my twenties... but physically I’m now less inclined to chase after ruffians on bicycles and throw my shoes at them for being cheeky. The spirit is willing, etc, etc.

I’m becoming less inclined to move with the times. I’m losing my grip on popular culture. Musically I’m still in the 80’s and cannot deny the parallel with my parents who were stuck in the 60’s when I was getting into Killing Joke and Fields Of The Nephilim. New music is beginning to pass me by.

Of course there other factors at work here. Less disposable income. Less space in the house to store my already humungous record and CD collection. But is this how it starts? Will I start falling in love with old black and white films purely because they remind me of my childhood? I can’t deny I’m already tempted to buy retro kid’s programmes on DVD for Tom (Bagpuss, Chorlton & The Wheelies, Pipkins).Of course I realize this is not on. He needs to be experiencing the same reference points as his peers not those of his father.

So am I merely wanting to regress to my own childhood to satisfy my own craving for what was once familiar? Isn’t this one of the signs of old age? Seeking to abandon the confusing present for the safety of the rose tinted past?

But maybe I’m looking at all these twinges and aches the wrong way. Maybe they are protests? A wake up call to get with the programme? To smell the New World coffee? A rallying cry to deliver me from the abyss of entropy?

Hmm. You know, I think that’s how I’m going to look at them.

A call to arms. A war cry raged against the dying of the light...

My 40’s are going to be my new 20’s. Old age can wait a little bit longer.

I is feelin’ the need to get me some bling, innit?


37 comments:

Tristan said...

Mortality's a bitch isn't it? I applaud your rejection of stick in the mud-ism. Stay curious, old chum! As long as you're open to the new, a knackered prostrate or dodgy back needn't make you feel old!

Steve said...

Tris: with my back I haven't been able to prostrate myself for years.

My prostate meanwhile is in fine fettle. ;-)

Mark said...

Very good and very funny.

Hypochondria, I decided long ago, is a sign of a high IQ.

And being serious for a mo, I have enjoyed my forties more than my thirties, I think largely because I've decided it is OK to be me, good old curmudgeonly me.

Steve said...

Mark: that is very encouraging. Thank you!

Suburbia said...

Know what you mean, sometimes it seems down hill all the way from here!

However I think having children ages you! Not just physically and mentally. I stopped buying music and started wearing less than fashionable when mine were small. Suddenly they become less work and now I have time look at the world again. It looks good, too good to get old in!

Steve said...

Suburbia: "Suddenly they become less work and now I have time look at the world again..." - is that true? Does that really happen? Do you promise?

The Crow said...

"Are these all signs of my inescapable mortality?"

No, honey; just your inescapable aging. When they tell you it's the Big C and you have less than a year, that's when it is your inescapable mortality.

:)

Steve said...

The Crow: can't argue with that. And anything that makes me count my blessings can only be a good thing.

Nota Bene said...

If you want to be a millionaire hand around with millionaires. If you want to stay young hang around with young people. But not too young!

Steve said...

Nota Bene: I watch an inordinate amount of CBeebies... does that count?

A Write Blog said...

I'm in my fifties. Forty seems such a long time ago.

I found 50 the great threshold.

I became more determined to do what I wanted to do not what society expected of me. The children had left home and I had been recently promoted to Granda status.

I worry less and, if anything, have the attitude of a younger less responsible person now. No children to consider I suppose.

On balance, I'd say I'm happier and more focussed on what is important in my life than I was before 50. I care less about what others think and am more prepared to take a risk. I suppose some of it is down to that fact that I'm more aware that I have less time left so I want to make the most of however long I have.

I'm also more accepting of the aging process. Some of it I like; the Granda thing, the ability to draw on a bank of experience and memories. Some of it is amusing; the nose hairs etc

Eaqch age has something to savour.

Steve said...

AWB: "Each age has something to savour..." as an outlook on life and the aging process I think that's an admirable ethos to have. And also possibly the most sane and likely to make a body happy.

Suburbia said...

Promise! Mine are 13 and nearly 10 though so it takes a while!

Forgot to say, it also helps to know some 'younger' people who don't have kids!!

Steve said...

Suburbia: only a couple of years to go with Ben then! The second part might be easier (and quicker) to achieve!

EmmaK said...

I have become an old fart. I was sitting watching TV with my husband the other day and he said to me, "what's happened to us, we're sitting here watching antiques roadshow and enjoying it." And he's only 30!! Thirty is the new sixty ho ho

Valerie said...

Sub is right, Steve. From experience I say life is much better when you're old enough to appreciate it. You have the best of both worlds ... even with a bad back ... and there are more challenges.It's quite exciting really. Actually the older you get the more of a ball life becomes and that's without any effort at all.

Steve said...

Emma: in that case 40 must be the new 70 and I'm well and truly buggered!

Valerie: I shall hope and pray that your words are true!

Valerie said...

Believe it, Steve.

Annie said...

The aches and pains are a good reminder that you're still alive Steve!

It also helps if you explore the possibility of the Great Beyond (Heaven). Get yourself an advance ticket there and you never really die.....

Steve said...

Annie: do you recommend the stalls or an aisle seat?

Annie said...

I'd recommend any ... the most important thing is how you get there :)

Steve said...

Annie: "with style" would suit me but in truth, as you say, just gaining admittance is more than good enough!

Löst Jimmy said...

Ho ho Steve just wait til you get to 44...er, 45 then the nostalgia really kicks in as for hypochondria? Did I tell you about the indigestion?

Rock Forever,...they say, that the 40s is the new 30s whatever that means.

Have a good weekend my friend

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: without any irony whatsoever I have been ill the last 2 days... but the weekend has now started and I have a new PC to console me and keep me young. If I can cope with a new OS (Windows 7) I can't be that over the hill just yet, can I?

missbehaving said...

I'm with EmmaK, I'm just an old fart. My daughter called me 'nearly 50' this morning and I was tempted to throw a wooden spoon at her, I'm 'early 40s' max!
I liked your point about your son experiencing his own childhood.
When my eldest was small I really stressed that all her childhood memories were culturally Japanese and that she was missing out on all the things that made MY childhood so great. It took me ages to catch on that even kids in England weren't having 'my' childhood anymore

Steve said...

MissBehaving: I guess each childhood is unique to the child and the period they grow up in. Kid's certasinly have more choice these days about what to watch and what to play with... and I'm not always sure that's such a good thing.

Clippy Mat said...

ya nobbut a bairn. enjoy your youth.
;-)

Steve said...

Clippy Matt: it's been a fair few years since I was called a bairn... thank you!

Old Cheeser said...

Having also hit the big 4-0 I can relate to your thoughts Steve...I'm not sure quite how I feel about it myself sometimes. It's got its positives and its got its negatives. God I'm profound today.

Steve said...

OC: hitting 40 tends to make you that way. You'll be getting religion next. ;-)

Owen said...

Time to start a new life then Steve, I think it's obvious, your mid-life crisis is upon you like an incubus in the night ! Can't you hear the endless beaches of the coast of Somalia calling you ??? There are fortunes to be made, so that you can kick back to enjoy life after 50, which according to some, is when one's real life actually begins... (said by one not yet 50, and still thinking I'm 20...)

Gina said...

I have to say that so far I much prefer my 40s to my 30s - I think I took stock at the end of my 30s when the reality that I was no longer young kicked in, and changed a few things. I have made time to do what I wish and I make sure I live life rather than let it pass me by. But it is hard to do that with small children and not much money - but it is possible, it's a state of mind as much as anything.

But I am with you on the recovery thing. I take ages to get over anything these days - running injuries, colds, nights out. I like my 43-year-old state of mind but would rather like my 23-year-old body back!

Steve said...

Owen: that's not a bad idea though I'm not sure the Somalian pirates would have me... I'm not really into kidnapping aged holiday makers...!

Gina: you and Owen seem to be coming from the same place - maybe you're both right: it's time to take stock and prioritize what is important to me and my family...?

The Sagittarian said...

You know that song "Every day above ground is a good day"...I'm with Gina and Owen on this.

Steve said...

Amanda: and I totally agree.

French Fancy said...

Curmudgeonly isn't so bad, you know. As for music - you've just got to watch the festival lineups on tv each summer and take your pick of the best bands.It's such an effortless way to keep abreast of music. Mind you I've only just discovered Muse!

Steve said...

FF: what a fabulously devious idea! So that's how people do it! hey - suddenly I'm down with the kids again. As long as they don't ask me for my opinion on the music or to name my favourite track...!