Isn’t it funny, when any politician or medical person refers to “older people” during this lockdown I never think that they are actually talking about me. Come on, older people limp about whilst wearing elasticated garments and constantly repeat themselves; others like me believe they are verging on the attractive in a mature sort of way. We do, don’t we? But alas, our ‘numbers’ conspire to damn us to being perceived as both toothless and forgetful. To be honest, I’ve had quite enough of this ageism and have started to rail against this and some of its more obvious manifestations. Have you noticed that just recently - all we might want to do as this lockdown is eased, seems to have a number attached to it? That number might be sixty, or sixty-five - most certainly seventy; but my question is - should we all be defined just by our age? How would the under 60’s like to be judged solely on their body-mass index, or heaven forfend IQ? That’s why those in authority need to be very careful when carelessly describing certain broad age-groups with ill thought out generic labelling.
Nevertheless, nobody can escape the irony of pretending, and desperately wanting to be ten years older when you were a young teenager and then striving to reverse that process when staring at sixty in your rear view mirror. I can remember with a certain amount of embarrassment trying to get into a disco (please don’t laugh!) when barely 16 year old and being told to “sling your hook sonny” by a very large but kindly bouncer. I was mortified, in much the same way when I was barely sixty-three and it was pointed out to me as I entered a well known Majorca ‘Nite-Spot’ (sorry about this) that there were reduced priced tickets available for pensionistas. Dear Lord, I could have cheerfully swung for that young woman - and her being a woman made it even worse I can assure you. What I am saying is this - at a guess, many of you reading this must have suffered similar humiliations and have harboured grudges ever since haven’t you? Yes, you have!
As a proud baby-boomer I have occasionally and tediously reminded readers that our generation basically invented sex as we know it - produced the best rock music ever invented and created for good or ill, the world in which we live. So if you don’t mind, I really don’t need modern society’s permission to live my life in the way that I wish to - so there.
Okay, slightly over-the-top but I think you get my drift. You see, although I am not over-fond of the mantra that declares that age and experience is always right - but, nor am I totally enamoured with that great God of youth being held above all things. However, I must say that I do wish that younger people would get more involved with mainstream politics, rather than just skirting around the periphery of public life shouting tiresome slogans. For arguments sake, the most powerful country in the world has an important election coming up in November. Yes, President Donald Trump (75) will take on the Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden (78) for the Presidency of the USA - come on, it will be a bit like watching rival candidates vying for the Hon Secretary position at a suburban golf club - but, the winner gets to fire nuclear weapons. Furthermore, is it just me, or is the young woman Prime Minister of New Zealand,Jacinda Ardern (39) doing a rather good job during this pandemic and has risen to the task of running her country with intelligence, dignity and aplomb?
Happily, that is the last vaguely nice thing that I will say about the younger generation. Mind you, thinking about it - some of us elderly and infirm can be somewhat tedious on occasions.
For instance, if I hear the strains of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ again I will scream - although, compared to hordes of young people doing really irritating stuff on social media this is somewhat of a godsend. Mostly however, I think the best thing for a person of a ‘certain’ age to do, is to ignore that fact; that’s it, ignore it and if at all possible, why not lop 5 to 10 years off your age at every opportunity, even if that takes you perilously close to puberty? In short my friends, you’re only as old as you feel, which is how it should be I reckon.