Yesterday I hit a milestone. It felt like a millstone but apparently it was a milestone. A half century. 49 years and 12 months old. five decades. Anything but that fi… no I cannot even force myself to see that number in print. I am no longer young. I am no longer youthful. I am in fact getting to the point where middle-aged is something I look back on.
How do I feel? well like many people I feel the same as the day before. I ache when I get out of bed, my knees crack and snap like old twigs and I start far too many conversations with the phrase “When I was their age..”. Getting old is something no-one can do about, even our best scientists are only able to theorise about time travel and until theory becomes practice I will have to accept that the chap with the scythe is starting to contemplate paying me a visit.
I can see the bright side to getting old. I read the papers and can remember the stories that start with “Thirty years ago today the ZX Spectrum was launched!”. Things that become collectible I now own and are in the attic. Of course, how valuable 8 tracks and betamax video recorders are is anybody`s guess.
I still say the dreadful thing that us oldies say, “The music was better in our day!” I still listen to the music I listened to when I was a spotty long-haired youth, Motorhead, AC/DC, Black Sabbath and The Scorpions. In the last three years I have seen all these bands performing on stage and can be found recanting to a rapidly diminishing crowd “Well yes but you really should have seen them in the “ace up your sleeve” tour of 1980″. At this point it will be pointed out that non of the people I am talking to were born then. Wife tends to lead me away as I start to sob at this point.
Of course the main consolation to arthritis, failing eyes, memory loss and….well I forget the other stuff, is that I am actually financially slightly solvent. I get Wife`s money from a cash machine and seldom check the balance. The mortgage is a mere slap on the bottom compared to the knee in the groin that it once was. We have actually traded in the last few cars as opposed to normally having them towed to a scrap yard. Going out for a meal is a pleasant experience now that we no longer have to sweat just in case service charge is added to the bill.
I suppose the main thing is that I am comfortable with my age. I am a happy chappy, provided I can grumble when I feel like it, and can hobble to the pub without too much whinging.When a pretty young lady smiles, approaches me and offers me her seat I think I will be rapidly looking over my shoulder for a sign of the Grim Reaper!
Well xmas is over. I hate xmas with a passion. I never use it`s old spelling because the modern-day celebration of consumerism has very little to do with any religion. The vague idea of presents for all and sundry follows on from the wise men ( or three kings) who popped into a barn two thousand years ago and dropped off gold, frankincense and myrrh. Nowadays the idea of xmas is to buy children violent computer games and for adults to gorge down as much food and drink as they can.
The original Yuletide celebrations go back to the dim and distant past. Many strange rituals have morphed over the years into todays winter celebrations. It all goes back to the winter solstice, the point at which the days start their long journey back until that wonderful three days of warmth and fun that us brits call “summer.”
In days of yore and before the discovery channel, people did not realise that the world spun around a giant nuclear reactor. In fact some thought the sun was hauled across the skies in a chariot. Winter was a time of suffering, endless repeats on the TV and cold frosty mornings with no food available. As the winter got harsher ( or if you are English, greyer and a yuck) the fear was that the sun would one day not show up at all. To this end most primative civilisations erected stone circles and temples, mostly with the benefit of being a timekeeper. Of course this being the olden days they had no fancy phones with a calendar and a clock app, so they needed to haul lumps of stone about the place.
At some point the sun would show at a low point, and the next day it would be a bit higher. Hurrah! It is not going to get darker, it`s going to get lighter! With the thought of three days of summer approaching, what would primitive man do? Eat and get drunk seems the most sensible option apparently! So was born the yuletide celebration.
Centuries later the yuletide was incorporated into the christian calender and moved until three days after the equinox, but pinched some of the ideas of mistletoe, logs and feasting. Come the modern-day and this festival has been nicked and turned into a massive gift-buying session, followed rather rapidly by the worship at the altar of the new year sales.
I often wonder if a few years from now, whilst I am sleeping contentedly in a box a few foot beneath the earth, that people will forget xmas and just celebrate the sales.Perhaps as they queue to buy stuff there will be a wrinkly old man grumbling about how when he was a lad they knew that the true meaning of xmas was,
hangovers and indigestion….