The young elderly
Yesterday we went to CROQUET FUN DAY! which, I think, needs to be expressed in a mock yelling way. It was all croquet, all the time. We were to be there for 9:30, in order to begin play promptly at 10. It was meant to go ‘all day’, leaving us no real understanding of when we were actually going to finish. (It was around 4, I think.)
Despite playing in pouring rain, it was a good day out. We enjoyed it and came home with a bottle of whisky and some weird ball puzzle thing. At the closing speech, I got a special mention for not being a pussy about the rain. (The guy running it had asked if I wanted a waterproof, I said no, that I’d seen worse. Many of the club members were standing nearby bitching about the atrocious conditions and how he really should just call the whole thing off now because this is just not right. I trudged off through the mud and waited for the bitches to get to the lawn.)
CROQUET FUN DAY! was good. We were informed that croquet is not a game, it’s a sport. (Can something really be a sport if most people’s knowledge of it involves hedgehogs and flamingoes?) We were asked if we were the newlyweds, and I was asked if I was one of ‘the Polish’ by a woman who honestly forgot where she was halfway through a game. Sorry, sport.
Most of the players (sportsmen) were well past retirement age. Given that most of their league matches are full days mid-week, it’s clearly a game/sport that is aimed at an older set. We were easily the youngest there, though a couple who seemed to be a few years older than us showed up with their young child, so the kid was the youngest if we were to be technical.
We do a lot of old people activities. We are prematurely old. If it weren’t for frequent use of the word ‘cunt’, spray paint, and comfort with technology, I think we could easily be mistaken for an elderly couple. We live in a geriatric neighbourhood (not hard in Weston, to be fair). We’re both home during the day. At night, I crochet. We enjoy having a nice cup of decaf tea and a bit of a read before bed. We crack and creak and moan about various joints giving us trouble again. Our big night each week is playing cards. (We’ve been invited to start going to one of the whist games that’s apparently a good laugh. There’s one woman at the game who will be 100 in a few months! Always the sign of a rollicking bit of card playing!)
While other couples our age chase after young kids, work their way up career ladders, and generally don’t do things where they’re the youngest by two decades, we’re turning old. I like it, though. I don’t want to be out at a noisy pub. I’d rather have a nice glass of red while watching something good on Sky Atlantic.
We still have an occasional crazy night out, but most of the time we’re most content staying in. If anything, it makes us appreciate the nights out more. (Often the nights out also make us appreciate the nights in.) If we’re happy with this, what’s wrong with it? Why shouldn’t we be settled down?
Back when I was a teenager, I was a big one for the whole ‘age is just a number’ argument, mostly because I was a smart teenager in a world full of idiotic adults (and a few smart adults, but most of the general public were (and are) complete morons). Now that I’m a smart adult, I still have the same kind of view. If you’re as old or young as you feel, what’s to stop you from doing anything? If we enjoy activities generally aimed at older people, so fucking what?
In another theory from younger days, I felt that I was ageing faster than normal. At 21, I’d experienced one of those Big Huge Life Events that most people don’t experience until much later. As such, I instantly felt older than I should have been. (It also helped that I’d packed a lot into the years between 18 and 20, pretty much living out 10 years worth of 20-something-ness, including graduating college, drinking a load, hanging around comedy clubs, holding down a few jobs, getting tattooed, living on my own, and drinking some more.) So by that admittedly flawed logic, I figured that my life expectancy would only be about 40 years. Thus by now, at 32, I should be well into my twilight years, I guess.
But the lifestyle to which we’ve become accustomed isn’t about being in the twilight, wasting away the days until we become dust (or worm food, as there’s no chance in fucking hell I’m being cremated, thank you very much). It’s about doing what we like. It’s about doing what makes us happy, not what is expected of us. It’s all very socially rebellious. And if we can be the only ones in a room not afraid of a computer, so much the better.
As a slight postscript, I offer this clip from King of Queens, which is what I think about when I speak of doing activities generally aimed at older ages…