10 Scary Things About Getting Old

Yesterday,5.20 am

‘Mirror, Mirror, on the wall. Who is the youngest-looking adult of them all?’

‘Your youthful looks were once rare. But  behold, something is sticking out…there’

I looked in the mirror again this morning and I saw it staring right back at me…mocking me.  It was none other than GH-12 (Grey Hair No. 12) rearing its unwanted being at the bottom of my goatee. Dare I say, I was already dreading the arrival of GH-13; unlucky for some, but the question I had to ask myself was, ‘Do I feel lucky? …’ 

As a teenager all I wanted to do was grow up…fast. I couldn’t wait to learn how to drive, get into full-time employment and live by myself. Growing up was fun but getting old wasn’t really what I was bargaining for at the time. Here are a number of reasons why:

  1. Limited choice of haircuts. You can kiss Afros and Corn-rows goodbye. Hair today, gone tomorrow…as they say. I wouldn’t mind much if my chin went bald or if my upper lip went bald, but Nature believes in taking hair follicles right off your scalp with each passing year (for some of us). Hair transplants are not an option for me though.
  2. Clint Eastwood wrinkles. When people ask you why you’re not smiling and you tell them, ‘I AM smiling’ then you know there’s something terribly wrong. The more lines you have on your face you can’t help but feel that people are staring at a road map. Once you start squinting you know things could soon go from Good to Bad…to Ugly.
  3. Saggy bits. Nothing stays where you put it after a while. You’re arms start to look like oversized sausages that have spent more than enough time in the frying pan. Buttocks shrink and serve as less of a cushion but more of an eye sore since your favourite jeans have all that extra space in the back.
  4. Goldfish Syndrome. I don’t want to forget anything and I don’t plan to. As a matter of fact, this blog will stay on the internet (for free, I might add) long after I’m gone so I’ll hopefully get a chance to use this medium as a reference point from time to time. I also plan to play a lot of Sudoku to keep my brain in tip-top shape.
  5. Sleeping…anytime….anywhere. Just imagine if you were to fall asleep whilst driving (even if it’s only 30km per hour). Or nodding off in the middle of your own thank you speech at your 75th surprise birthday party. I better not be living alone when I’m old. I’d probably doze off whilst making a pack of 5-minute Indomie noodles and set my apartment on fire. Sleeping whilst doing a number 2 is safe though. 
  6. Who makes fun for old people? Somehow it seems that everything around you (especially in Nigeria) is designed for people aged 0 to 65 years old. After that everyone else is irrelevant. I’ve not come across a dozen old people’s homes or a nightclub for pensioners. When you’re really frail people want to treat you like a delicate piece of glassware…hopefully not the kind that gets abandoned in the cupboard and is only brought out once a year during Christmas.
  7. When I grow up I wanna be a burden! I don’t want to be a burden to anyone, not even now. I’ve always wanted to be independent. I dread having someone other than my wife bathing me or cleaning up after me in toilet. With any luck one can hope for good health so you don’t pass on any horrendous medical bills as an early parting gift.
  8. Trying to look cool. I would still like to wear my Ralph Laurens, Von Dutch cap and Nike pumps in my 80s without anyone on the street looking at me funny. I don’t see why someone can’t be cool in his 20s and not retain that style six decades later. When all else fails, wield a Blackberry – you can’t go wrong with that (Instant Cool Tool). 
  9. ‘Ignore him’. What possible wise words of wisdom could I have when my grandkids can Google it in under 2 minutes on their smart phone in one hand whilst feeding me my lentil soup and croutons with the other. I probably shouldn’t talk much in order not to risk boring anyone to death.  
  10. Good Will Huntingstill hunting. Having to write one puts things into perspective. I wonder if Wills always unite a family left behind or if it breaks up a family. Depends on its content, right? Wills are a scary reminder that death is a one-way ticket with zero luggage allowance and all to lose. I don’t plan on writing a will except of course there’s a juicy revelation that would leave everyone with their jaws hitting the floor. “You mean all this while the Crazy Nigerian was actually …. 😀