With autumn/winter nearly on our doorstep, a friend asked me the other day: ‘When are you getting your flu jab?’ I nearly decked him.
I’m far too young, vibrant and healthy to need a flu jab. I don’t need to sit in the doctor’s surgery watching the car park fill up with mobility scooters and join the shuffling queue to ward of the dreaded bug.
Until, that is, the awful, gut-wrenching reality dawned on me: I’ve now turned 50. And all the ailments, pre-cautions, idiosyncrasies, complaints and annoyances I had once dismissed as being exclusive to the ‘Auld Ones’ now, sadly, apply to people like myself who have permanently waved goodbye to youthfulness, and even to the end of the Fabulous Forties.
So what, you might ask, are the worst things about turning 50 and getting older?
Flu Jabs. Ok, they’re necessary for pregnant women and those with one foot in the grave, but surely not for me? Yeah, right.
The pharmacist recommending the little blue plastic pill boxes in which you have to put your medication for each day, each miniature compartment telling you which day it is. Just in case I forget.
Youngsters on the street or in the shops acknowledging you as ‘Sir’. Please!
Some people asking you what month the Winter Fuel Allowance for the elderly kicks in. As if I’d bloody know!
Your doctor recommending you for an eye test. And even worse: me picking out snazzy frames in bright blues or greens that might make me look younger. Oh, God, has it come to this?
Searching in the furniture store for a new reading chair, only to walk past the beautiful Philippe Stark modernist creations to try and find something a little more comfortable.
Taking into the cleaners that fantastic Burberry suit that once made you look like a male model, only this time to ask if they can let the waist out, just a little… Having to put your glasses on to check your reflection in the mirror after shaving in the morning so that you haven’t ended up with ‘An Old Man’s Grizzly Patches’.
Hair that seems to sprout from the most unimaginable of places like weeds in the garden.
Your barber rolling his eyes when you ask him not to cut it ‘too short’ at the front… as if there’s enough left to cut.
Putting your socks on in the morning resembles a Sumo wrestler getting into a bikini.
Enquiring about an old fella across the bar and what age he might be, only for your mate to reply: ‘Probably near our age.’ In your local bank, where once your business was private, having to speak to someone on the ‘Customer Service’ phone through to Dublin who as a security check, then asks for your date of birth, and all behind you in the queue able to friggin’ hear it.
In Penneys looking for cheap holiday polo shirts to wear on the beach, and secretly searching through for XXL.
And, finally, after watching the rugby, retiring to the club’s bar for one or two too many, only the next morning to wake, febrile and fetid, as if you yourself had spent 80 minutes in a ruck. Oh, for days when I could run.
But, then again, one of the best — if not the best — repercussions of getting older and passing the Big 50, is that with wisdom, experience and the knocks of a lived life, you get to the point that you don’t have to necessarily give a damn what some awkward people might think of you. Thankfully, pained insecurity is the preserve of the virile young.
Oh, yeah, and you won’t get the damn flu.
Male celebrities turning 50 in various stages of repair
The male celebrities who have turned 50 this year include:
The ones that make us jealous, Grey’s Anatomy heart-throb Patrick ‘Dr McDreamy’ Dempsey and foxy Matthew Fox. Then there are those famous people who have not, perhaps, stood the test of time all that well: Hollywood actor Keifer Sutherland, comedian/actor Adam Sandler and Irish-American star John Cusack —the Big 50 it appears, in their cases, has sadly taken its toll.
Two other famous people have turned the tide, former boxing world champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson and, less controversially, chef Gordon Ramsay, both of whom you still wouldn’t want to bump into in a dark alley.
Finally, perhaps the saddest and naffest of mentions is for British former singer Rick Astley, who has turned 50 with serious weighty aplomb. His one hit wonder? The song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. If you remember the words to that, you really are old!