The seven sighs of the aged

According to an advertising meme, there are seven signs of ageing. They name them as:

  Dark spots.

  Sagging skin.

  Dull, glow-less skin.

  Lines and wrinkles.

  Dry skin.

  Patchy skin.

  Open pores.

Although not stipulated, this appears to be targeted at women, despite age not being gender specific. So, like others before me no doubt, I decided to ask what the signs are for men. We’ve come up with the following:

1/ Sighing

It might be just that there is a lot more about life that is frustrating nowadays, but we all agreed that sighing is a big thing. However, we were all certain that there were many things worth sighing about when we were 35, but it did not give rise to strange sounds. I mean, waiting for buses. If that isn’t worth a sigh, even when one is 25, I don’t know what is. Yet all those without dark spots seem to do is tut with a degree of irritating resignation. It’s enough to make you sigh.

Also, when someone old bends down, they have to grunt. I could, perhaps, understand it on the way up, with knees to coax into action, but why on the way down? That’s the easy part.

2/ What’s the point

It used to be of utmost importance to me that the F1 team I supported, McLaren, won, or at the very least did well, in grands prix. Now I’m not that bothered as long as they turn up. Mind you, given their results of late, I think they are of the same mind.

I’m a keen rugby fan. To win the division and be promoted was the most important aspect for me. When my team got promoted to National League 2, I ran on the pitch and danced after a fashion with, amongst others, the hooker. Now, what’s the point? All teams go down after being promoted. At my present club the committee got all concerned, enough to have an emergency meeting, when the team was in second place in the table. Promotion was the one thing we did not want.

3/ Dancing

It is not all bad news. There is no need to make excuses. If you go to a party, there is no requirement to dance. The women get up, the men relax. One of the guys reckoned that there was another, probably even more exerting, activity that he no longer was obliged to indulge in. I didn’t like to ask, but we all knew.

4/ Passing a toilet

My prostrate seems happy the size it is but for my age this isn’t always the case. One chap said he had to plan journeys around toilet stops, with back-ups (not to be taken literally) if there are hold ups. I have a daily diuretic. This defines my mornings and early afternoons, but beyond that I’m in the clear. I still can sleep all night, although . . .

5/ Sleeping, or rather not

Getting up to urinate before the full seven hours was the lot of a lot of the group. Some had enlarged prostrates, others just couldn’t seem to manage. For the rest of us, if rest isn’t an inappropriate word, we also had interrupted sleep. I have a chair at the foot of my bed and spend about 50% of my shuteye time in it. It seems that my problem, a bad back, is common. I go to sleep and wake up with pain in my, variously, legs, feet and hips. I take a pill but can’t get comfortable in bed so flop into the chair. Others have to go to the lounge and use a recliner. One had pains in the shoulders, others in the back.

6/ Discussions about illnesses

I never talked about being ill to friends before turning 60. Firstly, they didn’t want to know, and secondly, I didn’t want to tell them. It is now an icebreaker. If I haven’t seen someone for a few weeks or months, the first question is ‘How’s your [add problems here]’. I’ve discovered the ins and outs of illnesses I’d not heard of a few years ago. If something new goes wrong with me – which is unusual and everything seems to have thrown a wobbly over time, and I mean everything – I’m almost pleased if no one else has experienced it. I like the look of jealousy when I tell them. I used to cycle, sometimes 250 miles a week. I was told I would reap the benefits when I was old. My physio told me that I had the back problems of a typical cyclist.

7/Going downhill

When I could cycle (see 6 above) I enjoyed going downhill. It was fun, especially after a long climb. It was what I looked forward to. Now, it seems, going downhill is all I’ve got to look forward to. To think people complain about TVRs going wrong all the time. I wish the various bits of me had the reliability of my old Chimaera. Unlike a car, I can’t just remove a bit and bolt another on. Mind you, it goes for knees and hips I suppose, but they have their drawbacks. One of our group had ‘bad’ knees and could not walk up stairs. His new knees have developed a problem, a symptom of which is clicking loudly, and he now can’t walk down stairs. ‘Out of the two routes barred to me at various times, I preferred the former. I could get in a lift without anyone giving me condescending looks. Now I get condescending looks when I descend.’

Women have it easy. Open pores, eh? I’d swap any of my signs for that.

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