March of time

Kent Life - - On The Mic -

‘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...­dio


Andy Gar­land

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