Once upon a time, I would roll my eyes as my mother, mid rage, reeled off every other name except mine, which only served to escalate her ire at whatever it was I had done. Internally, I scoffed (I mean, I did not exactly want to extend the term of my punishment by doing it directly to her face) but now, I scoff no longer.
I can accept the visible signs of aging, the commencement of the decay.
There are only so many times I can convince myself that the appearance of age spots on my hands are a seasonal cluster of youthful freckles.
However, I did not anticipate the new form of scattiness which has made itself known, particularly, in the last year. Nor did I appreciate it rocking up with its bedfellow – worry.
I am now committed to an annual health check once a year with my GP. An anaphylaxis reaction while in the cargo hold of a Famine ship in Wexford will force your hand on a yearly MOT. Naturally, with the arrival of ‘Worry’ and the fact that I like to get my money’s worth, I tend to accumulate a list of aliments to be addressed.
So far, nothing much has panned out bar a folic acid and B12 deficiency. Que sera, sera etc.
I mean, I used to be fun! Relaxed, carefree and pretty much unfazed.
Yet overnight, I have developed proclivities towards certain past-times that even an individual many, many years my senior would consider somewhat excessive.
Chief example being that of an early bedtime. As the clock turns nine, I don my armour (flannel), suitable feet accoutrements (woollen socks) and ascend to, quite simply, my favourite place in all the land…the scratcher.
If I get a notion to extend the evening, Himself becomes suitably antsy as he will already have made the requisite cups of tea for the arduous journey.
If the weather is suitably Irish, wind/rain/flying pigs etc we will most likely be tucked up prior to the clock chiming nine bells.
Then there is the obsession with the news. I clearly remember inwardly groaning, when during seemingly interminable road-trips with my parents (normally to view some mountain or waterfall in the absolute belly of nowhere) they would increase the volume, to eardrum perforating levels, of the radio every time a news bulletin occurred.
Now, we are those soldiers. Nothing floats our boat more than telling our children to, “Sssssssshhhhh will ye, for five minutes!” as we race to see who can turn up the dulcet tones of the news reader the fastest.
Another favoured past-time of ours is moaning. Or groaning. Or both.
It depends really on whether there is movement involved.
Any cause for us to bend to retrieve something from the floor which we have dropped, results in a sharp exhale accompanied by a noise which highlights that we are most assuredly barrelling towards middle-age. It catches you unawares.
One day, you are scooping up the destruction that your children have seen fit to litter every available square inch of floor with like a streamlined athlete. The next, you seem to have embodied the very essence of Victor Meldrew and need the assurance of a palm placed against your lower back as you attempt to unfurl yourself from crooked fairy-tale crone status.
My personal favourite, however, is the fact that I can walk a distance of a mere few feet and forget entirely what it was that I had intended on doing.
Because, from now on, the greatest lie you will ever tell yourself is, “I don’t need to write it down… I’ll remember it”. No, you’re laughing.
Yet, to offset all the above you will develop the absolute greatest gift of all as a result of advancing years – the ability to not give a monkeys Uncle, Fannys Aunt or one fig as to what people think.
Whilst it would have been lovely to have been bestowed with that assurance in my twenties, it is more than a consolation prize to the developing creaks and groans. Now, if only I could remember where I put my glasses to jot down the lengthy list of possible ailments for the doctor…