Well, ‘tis done. A new decade dawns and we have all survived the trauma. Frankly, I don’t feel any different. Nor do I think I look any older. Others may disagree, but age is truly just a number.
I put ‘sixties’ into the internet search engine and misspell the thing. It comes out as sixtoes which just serves to confirm the fact that brain cells are dying fast. This obviously age-induced mistake brings up the word ‘Polydactyly’. It is an interesting condition and is something that can affect one in three thousand people.
Not that it should hold anyone back. Maria Sharapova’s six toes have been credited with catapulting her to international tennis playing fame. I read somewhere that Mao Tse-tung’s ambitious fourth wife also had a rather overcrowded foot. The latter is a curious, if useless, piece of information. More interesting is the fact that the revolutionary Chinese leader had time to marry so many times…
But I digress. Earlier this year I had it all worked out. The big birthday would be spent in a state of deep mourning. I planned to sit in a dark cupboard until the day passed. I would ignore the world until it was all over and then come blinking into the twilight zone.
But then I got to thinking about the benefits of being three-score years. Cheap train travel. A free bus pass (thank you Scotland). Reduced price cinema tickets. Cut price spectacles at certain opticians. Discount dining. Let’s face it, the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness list goes on and on.
There are downsides, of course. A state pension is way down the tracks and the goal posts will surely be moved again before we get to that one. Plus I now appear to be classed as ‘elderly’ which doesn’t sound too exciting.
But hey! Sixty is the new forty, or hadn’t you heard?! Many of us are still working. Instead of retiring gracefully to the bridge table, we’re thinking of trekking in Peru. Rather than picking up the knitting needles, we’re taking up Kung Fu.
Which is all very well. Because, actually, sixty is sixty. No matter how much you try to sell things. But, now it’s here, at least I’m in the low numbers again. Sixty-one next time round. Which is a comfort.
The chief is a few years younger, but the MacNaughties are up there with me. Barra the Cocker is sixty-three in human terms whilst Rummie the Norfolk is fifty-six. In dog years they are nine and eight respectively. And whilst I would like to say they are becoming older and wiser, they are still as daft as brushes. Which, again, is a funny, cuddly comfort.
Anyhow, the big birthday goes thus. No wild party. Just a quiet dinner with the chief in a five-star country hotel. The doggies are not invited, but, who knows, when the waiter’s back is turned, I will squirrel away a morsel of meat. Yes, sixty and no sense of shame…