Monday, 18 July 2016
At my age it's a miracle that I can get my feet into my gym shorts without a) falling over; b) feeling dizzy; c) asking for oxygen. But I did, and I played 6 games against a man who was 20 -30 years younger...and I won.
This is a major achievement for me. It is my first victory since I joined the squash league over a year ago. My record has been consistent...until today. I lost all, except three, matches to 3 -0. Today I won.
This is on top of a 10 mile sponsored walk yesterday...in three hours. I spent the rest of the day laid up but this morning I was able to go to the allotment for an hour without feeling in anyway knackered.
All this illustrates my worry that I might, ever so slightly be getting old. That age is impacting cannot be denied. Hearing: I don't go to concerts anymore since the last one was so painful. In a pub I might as well be deaf. I spend a lot of time mishearing what people, but most importantly, my wife says.
Eyesight. I can still see with the help of increasingly powerful, and expensive, glasses. If you're going to have pebble glass it might as well be the best Venetican.
But my main focus: the measure of my ageing is my expanding waistline. It's all due to lack of muscle tone, you know the six pack you had when you were fit, healthy, attractive and...young. It's lost the will to live: a glimpse in the mirror shows devastatingly how age, and rather too much alcohol, has expanded one's horizons - gut wise.
As I sip a glass of Chilean Cab Sav and fill my face with a raspberry topped cheesecake, I'm sure a long walk/series of short walks/trip to the off licence will eat away at the bulge. I breath in, except I've so little muscle tone all that happens is my bum pushes out. It's a struggle and it's my age that's at fault.
I remember when all my shirts were slim fit, my pants small and my trousers fitted. Now my shirts, no matter how expensive, have to be of a size that resembles a head sail in a gale. My trousers have an expandable waist band and flies that self seal, as I'm more likely than not to forget to "zip up".
Socks are a luxury. Shoes still have laces, but if I'm playing squash I have to make sure the ones I wear are ones I can take off and put on in less than 20 minutes. It's disconcerting when people start laughing.
I still have my hair. It's no longer the colour it started out as, but it's, more or less, intact. This adds another level of age related anxiety. How to maintain the thatch. Expensive haircuts - to ensure all the silvery/grey hairs are shown off to their best. Exotic, organic hair treatments to keep away incipient dryness, flaky skin and widow's peak syndrome. Careful grooming in front of the mirror to ensure as few as possible hairs are detached from the aged pate.
Skin is the great betrayer. Twice a day, morning and night I bath my skin in Clinique's "Dramatically Different". It works: it should given how many thousands of pounds I spent on my visage. And yet all this, all of man's ingenuity - body wise - cannot compete with the inevitable increase in entropy. My body may have been well and truly ordered 40 plus years ago but now it's rapidly sinking into dissolution.
I'm playing squash again on Friday against some twenty something. He'll be so up for it and I'll have to explain the reason why he beat me, if he does, is because