If, like me, you’ve never actually died then you will probably have found yourself in the unfortunate predicament of getting older with every passing year. This can be a tad depressing sometimes as the long never-ending conveyor belt of life transports you steadily and methodically towards the swinging industrial scythe at the end of it all. It doesn’t matter how health conscious you are, how many marathons you run or how many acai berry and spirulina smoothies you force down your neck without retching, you are going to die eventually, maybe a lot sooner than you think so you better make the most of it. Of course this is a rather morose way of looking at it, life after all is to be lived. We live in a wonderful world full of good stuff to savour and enjoy; good friends, family and all of the experiences and events that enrich our lives and help us to develop as human beings and acquire deeper knowledge as we grow older. We’re also lucky to live in the developed world, everything might be ridiculously expensive and a bit of a ballache but if you’ve ever contracted dysentery from drinking the poisonous water that you had to walk 10 miles in the blazing sun to get then you probably wouldn’t be moaning about the state of public transport or the price of a pint of Stella, it’s all relative after all.
The problem with getting older, and with life in general is that we all fall in to the trap of comparing ourselves to other people all the time. I think it was the Dalai Lama who said, “Don’t compare yourselves to all those cunts on Facebook cos those cunts probably aren’t having as great a time as they constantly make out.” That’s not the exact quote.
It’s not just social media though. We all have idols, people who we admire and look up to, people who have achieved things in life which we ourselves would like to emulate. When you’re young, all of these people are older than you so you can almost convince yourself that you could follow in their footsteps. As you get older though you slowly start passing all of these people by and realising that you’re never going to do what they’ve done, you’ve missed that window, so you start looking at people older than you and thinking well they’re five years older than me, there’s still time! Or, hell if I look like that when I’m fifty-five I’ll be pretty happy, just need to get a personal trainer and a nutritionist and stop smoking and eating domino’s pizza in bed and save up to get liposuction and a facelift and a hefty amount of cosmetic dental work and I should be fine. Thank God!
Anyway, I thought I’d have a look at people from different generations who I look up to just to try and come to terms with what I’ve missed and what I still have to aim for, maybe we can all take some comfort from what’s about to happen, here are the seven ages of man.
I literally cannot even think of a single person below the age of twenty. Hermione Grainger? Fuck knows. I think this proves that I am now old. If I, at the age of 31 feel completely out of touch with the youth of today then God knows what it must be like for parents with teenage children trying to understand the vacuous little fuckers. I do know that there’s a new breed of famous young people called Vloggers and that quite frankly, this phenomenon is too terrifying to delve in to fully. Just do a quick Google search and you’ll undoubtedly be just as horrified as me by what you see. These little fuckers basically film themselves talking absolute shite about girls or makeup or just any rubbish that comes in to their minds that they think is funny, they put it up on YouTube and they get a million likes and then they get advertising revenue as a result and someone hands them a book deal and their own TV show. It makes me physically sick. At my school this kind of behaviour would quite rightly have earned you a vicious changing room beating and guaranteed that whatever video you filmed of yourself would be replayed over and over again as a source of ridicule, these days it’s lauded as creative and innovative and people give them money! The selfie is bad enough, when slags first started putting pictures that they’d taken of themselves all over Facebook I used to think, “How do you think this is ok?” Then it became perfectly normal and acceptable. Now it’s gone a step further and it’s perfectly fine to film yourself talking about nothing or editing together videos of yourself doing some ridiculous “comedy” skit alone in your room!! And this is supposed to be ok? Well it’s not, it’s appalling and I for one am glad that I am nowhere near the age where people think this is cool. Teenagers should just stick to drinking cider, fingering each other and playing sega megadrive and inhaling cans of lynx deodorant through a sock, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
20 – 30
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, age 29. Born and raised in the grease mines of Northern Portugal, Ronnie refused to talk until he was 17 years old and instead communicated using only his feet and the shame of his vanquished enemies. Some say he was raised by a family of Unicorns and that his hair has magical healing powers. As a youth he perfected his skills by swimming underwater for huge distances and diving to alarming depths, while he was submerged under the waves he would kick sea turtles right out of their shells, that’s how he got so good at free kicks. Ronnie came to Manchester at age 17 and was trained by an insane Scottish maniac in the fine art of staying on his feet, something which was always tricky in the grease mines and not required underwater or whilst gliding across the plains on a Unicorn. Once he’d mastered this new technique, Ronnie became the perfect physical specimen and the best football player the world has ever seen. Apparently only eight teams in Europe have scored more goals than Ronnie this season which basically means he could just start his own team with only him in it and he’d still probably win. I’ve watched him grow and destroy all in his path, and I know that he’s achieved more in the physical world than I ever will but there’s a sadness here. Ronnie has achieved all his dreams by a very young age and his career as a footballer will actually soon be over. What will he do then? It’s said that Alexander the Great once looked across his empire and wept as there were no more worlds left to conquer, I wonder if that’s how Ronnie feels when he’s bathing in Mazola and burning his money? Probably not. Still I won’t lose too much sleep that I’m never going to be as rich or as good at football as Ronnie.
Fun fact; I once sent a tweet to Ronnie when I was drunk which read, “Come back to Manchester Ronnie, everyone loves you we saw you at the airport and tries to finger you.” I only saw it a few days later and still have no idea what it meant, I’ve never seen him at an airport.
Ryan James Jarman, age 33. I absolutely love Ryan Jarman. The Cribs are one of my favourite bands and the one band I’ve seen live more than any other. 30 – 40 is my age range now and this is where it starts to get a bit tricky. You start desperately looking around for people who are older than you but are still cool. Once you’re past the age of 30 your physical condition starts to deteriorate, that’s just a fact of life, you’re past your physical peak, if you were a footballer you’d most probably have retired by the time you get to Ryan’s age which is a scary thought. By this age, youth and vitality is no longer your key attribute but you can still be cool I think. I know I’ll never be as cool as Ryan but I do believe that 30 is more like the new 20 these days (I have to believe that!) and that actually you can be at your coolest in your 30’s which is a comforting thought. As long as Ryan Jarman is still cool and older than me I’ll be quite comfortable with being in my early 30’s I think. Ryan is in a band which effectively grants anyone the gift of eternal youth. He can wear ripped jeans, converse and a vintage leather jacket for ever and ever and still look great as long as he’s got a guitar and still makes great songs. I work for an IT & Telecoms company specialising in cloud ready networks designed for growth. Slightly less cool and if I turned up to work wearing jeans and a ramones t-shirt instead of a navy blue suit and a tasteful overcoat and scarf combo I’d probably be fired but I can still try and be cool in my own time. Nowhere near as cool as Ryan Jarman but slightly edgier than Prince William. I’ll take that thanks.
40 – 50
John Niven, age 46. John Niven is my favourite writer, go and check out his books. Like me, John used to be in a band when he was younger, then (unlike me) he went on to become an A&R man and apparently turned down the chance to sign Muse and Coldplay before sacking it all off to become a novelist. Once you get to the age of 40 you really have entered a new stage of your life. You’re well past your physical best, some people will cling to youth and well being by sticking to a constant diet and cycling ridiculous distances week in week out but let’s face it what is the point? You’re never going to be that cool either unfortunately. You can no longer go around dressed as a scruffy drug addict and expect to look cool and edgy because you’ll actually just look like a sad old tramp (unless you’re in a band – remember band trumps age every time). Being poor is no longer romantic or funny, you’re expected to wear nice shoes and be able to pay for nice dinners and holidays and even children, you’re expected to be a man. So you’re not cool, you’re not fit, you’re a bit of a moody old Scottish bastard with a bit of a paunch, what can you do? Use your brain, that’s what. And work bloody hard to try and achieve something. You don’t have to be skinny and in a band to be creative and make interesting stuff, you can use your brain, or what’s left of it to really try and do something which matters to you, whatever that may be because this is make or break time really. Many people float through their twenties completely oblivious to everything and still clinging on to dreams that are never that likely to happen. Making it as backing dancer or a DJ or a footballer or a hand model or a visual artist, the list is endless and it ain’t going to happen for most of us! So we drift in to a career that does nothing for us except pay the bills and then we get pigeon holed in to doing that same thing forever. At some point you need to try and break that cycle and the only way to do this is to use your brain and do some work, that’s what the youth of today will never understand, your brain just can’t handle the concept until you get to at least 30, probably 35 I reckon.
50 – 60
Brad Pitt is 50, thank fuck for that! He looks great, he’s totally awesome in every way and that makes me not have to worry because I’m way off being 50! I’ll have to live two thirds of my life again before I get to Brad Pitt’s age, it’s so far off I needn’t worry about it. Except for the one fact that every year seems to go by that little bit quicker until I imagine you get to the point where each year seems to go by in the equivalent of about a week in your twenties. I wonder how old Brad Pitt was when he couldn’t imagine himself being 50, bet it seems like not that long ago to him now. Fuck.
60 – 70
Keith Richards, age 70. Rock ‘n’ Roll’s very own zombie grandfather Keith Richards is obviously completely big time. Keith is actually 90% tar and survives by sleeping for only two hours, once a week in a vat of pickled gherkins. He keeps his youthful complexion by plastering the cracks in his face with crab paste and by keeping his heart rate down to only one beat every three minutes. Just look at Keith! Do you think Keith ever worries about his cholesterol? His internal organs? Dying? Does he fuck. Do you think Keith ever eats a superfood salad for lunch and goes for a walk with a goji berry and wheatgrass protein shake? Fuck off does he. He eats heroin for breakfast and smokes cigarettes in only one drag. He laughs at the youth of today with their M-Kat and their cocaine made from 95% washing powder and their skinny jeans and stupid haircuts and their atrocious identikit tattoos. He sits in an old leather wingback armchair all day with a telecaster and a pint of the finest scotch like a creepy stinking old wizard.
I’ve skipped a whole generation really by going from Pitt (50) to Keef (70), there’s a whole 20 years in there where all sorts of stuff is possible and that is where you should be kicking back and starting to really enjoy everything you’ve acheived in your life, maybe you’ve banked some cash, maybe you’ve had some kids, maybe you’ve made a decision to move to a different part of the world. Whatever it is, this is the time of life where you should just enjoy yourself and hopefully not have to struggle too much. We’re all given three score years and ten so technically Keith has had his time but if you can make it to this age then you’ve done well and might as well just continue to do whatever the fuck you want. I hope I can be like Keith when I’m 70 years old, I’d sooner trade places with him than some dickhead Vlogger any day of the week.
80 – 90
Barry Humphries, age 80. Fuck it, you’re old. Just do whatever makes you happy. This will probably be me aged 80!
So there you go. I don’t think getting older is that bad as long as you enjoy it as much as you can. I think the trick is to just keep doing stuff. As soon as you start doing nothing then that’s when you’ve become old. Of course I don’t consider myself to be old at all, hopefully I’ll have lots of experiences to come both good and bad but most importantly I hope they’ll be interesting and help me to learn more stuff. I never realised until very recently that working hard on something is actually a good thing and I’ve only just let go of the belief I held for much of my life which was that the world owes me a massive favour, it does not. I’ve already been granted that favour by being born, I may get run over by an elephant or crushed by a falling piano tomorrow or any of the days to come but until that happens (and that is how I’d like to go) I’ll continue to try and enjoy life even with all of it’s ball breaking drudgery and criminally over-priced pints of Stella.
Getting older = Not that bad