Age belongs… on tombstones?

It’s a little ironic really to think that we spend the first, say, third of our lives trying to be older than our years and the rest trying to be younger. I’m seven and a half. I’m thirteen and three-quarters. I’m nearly 21.  What is it about age that we can’t live with? What is it about age that we can never seem to be comfortable with? I get an almost prurient pleasure when people think I am younger than I am and the younger they think I am, the more pleasure I get. But really, at the end of the day, what does it matter? Who gives a flying foible?

In my head, I will always be 32. That’s when I broke my back (my sacrum) on a snowmachine in Alaska, 81 miles from town, 2 miles up the side of a mountain. I thought I’d been shot. But no blood. Just one broken sacrum and a fractured L2 vertebrae. With weeks on end contemplating the ceiling, hostage to a remote control and the shopping channel, I had little to do but deliberate upon whence I’d come and whence I was going. Time stood still and although years have since passed, while I might be aging outwardly, inside, I’m still 32.

So why am I so preoccupied with age?Admittedly I’ve gotten better. I no  longer insist on knowing how old you are before I deign to have a level 2 conversation with you. I no longer do the math when I first meet you. I no longer fixate on whether or not you’re too young or too old for whatever it is I have in mind. But still, all the same, it’s there. Inside me. That dread that one day, instead of being 32, I might actually have to start acting the age I am.

I have friends who are in their 50s and dress and act ten years younger and carry it off. I never question their age or what they’re up to. I have other friends who are in their 50s and, by their appearance, should be drawing a pension. So what’s the cut-off date? What’s the age at which I need to start acting my age? When does reality click in?

And then I see this video of these stylish ladies in New York and it makes me want to go shopping and go mad. And my mate, the one who has come back to life, is talking of wearing a black and orange mumu and embracing eccentricty now that she has a second lease on living.And I wonder – why am I bothered?

What is at the root of all this angst? It’s simply a fact of life that while I am beyond my sell-by date with regard to having kids (and truth be told, my biological clock was always a few minutes slow), this precludes any relationship of substance with the majority of men I meet who are under 50 and childless. Perhaps, deep down, that’s the fact of life that I’m resisting.

PS Akció means ‘sale’ in Hungarian

1 reply
  1. Bernard Adams
    Bernard Adams says:

    Kálmán Mikszáth comments somewhere that no Hungarian woman will admit to being less than 14 or more than 40 . . . Personally, I don’t agree with getting old – I see no future in it.


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