March of time
‘Maybe Yeats was right, maybe in middle age
we do all fall apart’ Eyesight not at its best, peculiar aches and pains, dry
skin – could middle age be creeping up on Andy?
I’m aching... “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold” - so wrote WB Yeats in the aftermath of the First World War and while I’m sure that I’m not the precursor of a post-war apocalypse, a later line in the poem Second Coming, begins with “Troubles my sight” which presently rings all too true.
The overarching theme of ordered systems falling permanently into disorder or chaos mirrors exactly how I’m feeling as we reach the waning of the year. Troubles with my sight is where this all started – I’ve always prided myself on having eyes like Legolas in the Lord of the Rings. But recently I began to notice a marked deterioration.
Glancing up from my iPhone to check the football score in the corner of the screen, I’d squint repeatedly in order to bring the digits into focus.
Becoming convinced that this was simply the result of too much gawping, open-mouthed and slack-jawed at the small screen, I rather foolishly thought that weaning myself off the persistent glare of the pixels would be the answer to my optical ills.
I put this theory to that wise old eye expert, Kent optometrist Niall O’Kane, who simply chuckled at my amateur theory and gently remarked “I’m afraid it’s your age Andy, just your age.”
So round one to, if not old father time, then at least slightly ageing father time. Round two, however, is a completely onesided, unfair, weasely contest whereby doing my level best to get at least six hours of shuteye a night (the best according to latest research to avoid long-term cardiac problems), you’d hope your body would reward you for such diligence.
But no, instead it takes its revenge in the form of repeated and extremely painful, crooked necks. Annoying more than debilitating, they are manageable, as long as I don’t turn my bonce past a certain point. If I do? Cue instant agony, and an alien-like crunching sound that’s so loud I can feel it reverberating through my neck and upwards to my lower jaw. (I’ve just spent the last five minutes rotating my head to and fro, becoming slightly addicted to hearing this grinding noise emanating from my body!)
It sounds hideous. Almost hideous enough to make me want to visit a doctor. Although in reality, not hideous enough to start queuing outside half an hour before our local surgery opens, the only way it seems to ensure being seen that day. Phone at 8am and immediately you find yourself 18th on the list.
Just when I thought my sneaky body was through letting me know I’m no longer in the first flush of youth, it throws another curve ball my way in the form of shedding snakelike amounts of dry skin from my face, should I dare not to moisturise. Try telling my 20-year-old self that I’d not only be moisturising daily, but also reading online reviews of the best products and even owning more than one pot of the goop, in order to give myself a fighting chance of not looking like The Thing from The Fantastic Four.
And that, dear friends, is where I am right now and as autumn begins in earnest, the clocks change, meaning less daylight for any outdoor-based exercise, which in turn means that my already weak willpower will probably fail in its rather feebleminded attempts to get me to the gym at 6.30 in the morning.
All these aches and pains are only going to get worse, so maybe Yeats was right, maybe in middle age we do all fall apart.
At least I still have most of my hair...