Some things have happened recently that have made me feel old. At first I was concerned but I now seem to have found a way of dealing with this revelation.
The first was during one of those quick shopping trips on the way home from work. I dashed around the isles getting the four urgent items and joined tea-time queue of other weary travellers in a similar position; all wondering why there was only one till open at such a busy time. I looked around the store at the other workers and had to wonder why folding empty cardboard boxes was more important than serving customers.
When it was my turn to be scowled at by the shop assistant I readied myself to pay and was asked to enter my PIN number. For the life of me I could not remember it. It had gone from my mind and I couldn’t find it anywhere.
I stood for a moment as if I was trying to understand the theory of relativity but nothing would come into my mind. I managed to pay for the few items with the collection of loose change I carry around with me because I am too lazy to empty my pockets.
I remembered the number just as I arrived home but that didn’t stop me worrying ever so slightly.
The next episode was whilst watching the telly. I had always been aware that TV viewing with older people can be a painful experience. My father had ruined many a good show by insisting that the quizzes were fixed and that none of what you see is true. Now it seems that he was right all along. I now watch the programmes with the same degree of cynicism and, in the process, annoy my own children.
‘Game shows are designed to make you feel guilty’ I explain to my long suffering daughters. The number of times the host says ‘The contestants will lose their chance to dance again next week unless you phone in and vote for them’ or ‘Their whole future in the jungle relies on your vote’. Apparently it is my fault that these celebrities don’t make it. Such pressure!
I say all this to my daughters and they look at me like I looked at my father; I know it is a sign of my youth slipping away.
The final example was fuelled by recent football events and the fate of the England team. I had watched the match against Croatia and felt more than sad at the outcome. My wife, noticing my malaise, tried to cheer me up by reminding me that it was ‘only a game’. This didn’t work even though she seemed to enjoy the conversation.
‘Now I will have to wait until the World Cup!’ I said trying to offer an explanation for my state of mind. Then it came to me that, even if I reach three score years and ten, I only have six World Cups left to enjoy.
Forgetting my pin number is one thing. Getting annoyed at the TV is another. Having only six of the most important football competition is just too big to cope with.
My wife, who also looked a little shocked at this, tried to come to my aid by reminding me that I do have the possibility of twenty three FA cup finals. It helped but I needed more!
‘How many premiership matches might I have?’ I asked, searching for comfort. A quick calculation showed that I had well over 800 to work with; all was not lost.
I started to breathe again and reflected on the fact that if you count all international matches, including friendlies, it is probably reaching nearly the thousand mark. By now I was on a role and working out other leagues and football competitions. It was good to feel young again. In fact my wife tells me that I haven’t ever really grown up, which I think was a compliment.
So my advice to you if you are feeling old is not count your life in World Cups; make the most of every game you can find.