Whenever my birthday rolls around, I find myself reflecting on the years that have come and gone and the changes that I've seen. That, and anticipating the coming year and what might lay in store.
But what I've found is that getting older really does bring with it a mixed bag of experiences and revelations.
When I wake up in the mornings now I find I have a stiff neck, a sore back and occasionally a headache – but at least I have actually woken up...
Some of the things that used to mean little to me now mean more, for example I used to laugh in the face of cushions and now I see them as a boon. They're comfortable and I like them. It's a sign no doubt of getting old and it both worries and pleases me - which sums up the contradictions that come with getting on a bit.
I realise now what is important in life, getting out there and living – only it takes a whole load of extra effort and planning to get out there and live. One has to plan more, especially when it comes to toilets. The wanderlust that arrives with getting older brings with it the need to know where the toilets will be on the next adventure. Camping is a no-no, I don't want to poo in a field and even where there are toilet blocks, the days of me sharing facilities are long gone. Been there, done that. Now I want some privacy. Nobody wants to see any part of me uncovered. Ehem.
Getting older does have some benefits of course. A little while ago I was offered a seat at the bus stop by a charming young man (you see I've even started talking like an old person). That was nice. What worries me is that I accepted his kind offer and as I sat down I sighed, one of those 'ahh good to take the weight off my feet' kind of sighs that old people do. I was shocked at myself and stood back up abruptly as if trying to prove that I was offended at the very thought of someone thinking of me as senior. I mean, really, how dare they?
Where I especially notice getting older though is when I go out at night, which I still do on occasion, doggedly pursuing my youth as it disappears off down the street and into the distance.
I used to enjoy 'dancing myself dizzy' at the disco (a 1980 reference there for anyone old enough to remember Liquid Gold's smash hit record) and now I see the poignant truth in the lyrics as I literally dance myself dizzy – and then I need to have a little sit down in a quiet corner, away from those booming loud speakers as I gather myself together, while the rooms spins.
So I still get a head rush when I dance but these days it's without any need for poppers, now it just happens naturally, while the lights flashing to the music do tend to bring on a migraine.
I have turned into one of those old codgers who I used to see and feel sorry for, the ones who huddle together at a table, nursing a pint, watching the younguns gyrating on the dancefloor, 'remembering when'. Now in their faces I see me. Scary.
And, alas, I've finally given up on some of the dreams I nurtured in my youth.
Will I ever ride coast to coast across America on a Harley Davidson? Possibly not.
And I'm probably not going to ascend Everest unless they install a cable car.
But I'm still stubbornly keeping other dreams alive....
For example I do still want to fill Carnegie Hall, performing to an audience of fans after my album of Greatest Hits reaches number one - worldwide.
And I want to humbly bow in front of a standing ovation after my new show debuts on Broadway. The critics will love it and I will be the toast of New York.
In my head, those things still seem possible.
Meanwhile I will toast myself with my current tipple, a large Vodka with a Gaviscon chaser, and remember what I can of the past while looking ahead to the future.
I have given up on trying to fathom out what life is all about. I have come to the rather excellent conclusion that it is about nothing, it makes no sense at all so why worry?
Now if you'll excuse me I have dreams to chase.
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