What zombies will not tell you about turning 50

Are you fooled by the title? You won’t be if you have an idea of how old I am. Let me give you some context; when I was a boy the Dead Sea was only sick.

Enough of George Burns’ jokes. I found myself at supermarket queue at the other day. A pretty lady behind me tapped my shoulder and pointed to the ‘Senior Citizens’ till point. I was about to remonstrate with her, when the small voice in my head reminded me that indeed not far from being one.

Later, I found myself counting the number of years, and grey hairs. I am not far from qualifying for the honour of jumping queues without getting any hard looks!

Wasn’t it the reggae band, Steel Pulse that crooned, “One foot in the grave is a foolish step to take?” Well, it now looks like both feet to me and I have no choice in all this!

As I scrolled the birthdays tab on Facebook, I realised how there seemed to be an outbreak of people turning 50. And I am not only counting the people I grew up with. My mum once said it was a blessing to reach such a ‘ripe old age.’ I now understand what ‘ripe’ meant.

All those jokes about aging begin to make sense. Like the one that said I know I am old when the cost of candles exceeds that of the birthday cake. I am now terrified of celebrating my birthday.

Colleagues who are way over the hill begin to refer to everything in the past tense. Particularly, when you begin a conversation by saying, ‘When I was your age…’

Do you remember when you were the life of the party? Dancing until the wee hours of the night without breaking a sweat. Any attempt at reclaiming those lost years takes a comic turn as I will explain.

A friend and I decided to go out to a night spot ‘to have a few.’ The first thing that struck us was the noise. At our age, we become sensitive about everything, including light, like vampires.

The strobes are causing all sorts of problems. Making it a task for us to use our reading glasses, or even find them. It’s like looking straight into God’s flashlight. Him telling us that we didn’t belong there.

Yes, at this age eyesight begins to go south. If you find yourself having more than one set of glasses, then know you are now classified as ancient. More likely to be the subject of an archaeology class than you studying it.

The bad thing about a nightclub is that you cannot ‘instruct’ them to turn down the volume, nor switch off the lights. You also discover that the owners, the DJ, waiters and barmen combined are young enough to be you kids. Or even worse, your grandchildren!

It is unfortunate that we are unable to ‘instruct’ them to turn down the volume. Nor switch off the lights. Like we do at home. Even when the owners, DJs, waiters and barmen combined, are young enough to be you kids. Or worse, your grandchildren.

The best that they can do is to shunt you to the non-smoking section. While there you are less likely to be calling out for the oxygen tank. To revive your failing lungs, that is. Let’s not mention what else is failing

That is when you realise for sure, that the train has left the station without you. Especially, when you don’t understand what is being played on the turntables. It is at this point that I notice that my friend is dead asleep. He is leaning against a booming speaker, snoring.

The ‘few’ we had downed were one too many. It was time to go, exactly two hours after we had arrived. At that point I hissed more to myself, “How the mighty have fallen!”

Beside going to the nightclub there are other areas that are fast becoming no-go areas. The gym being chief among them. I should admit that I have never been a gym person.

Social soccer was the best form of exercise for me. Having a kickabout with the boys and taking ‘several’ afterwards. That was 15 years ago, which is a lifetime for most.

I have always found going to the gym something of an ego trip. An act of denying that the body is falling apart. Ask my friend Spencer, whose doctor advises there is no need for heroism at our age. A brisk walk around the coffee table should do.

This lifting of weights, running on the treadmill, push-ups and other activities to impress the damsels in tights is, sorry to say, suicidal. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you drop dead.

I always feel better when my doctor says something is normal for my age, but then think dying will also be normal at some point. At my age, the doctor is my friend because I consult him more than anyone else.

It’s like asking him, “Are we there yet” but won’t say it. Neither would he. He still wants my money. I am not any good to him when I am dead.

I agree with the late Woody Allen who once said, it’s not that we are afraid to die, we just don’t want to be there when it happens.

There many other things I could share with you about turning the Big 5–0. Such as the number of times you go to the loo at night, not before peeing on yourself in the process.

About forgetting what you have just said, having a tough time remembering your kid’s names, or where you last put your dentures. Finding my car in the supermarket car park is always sweet victory for me.

Don’t tell me I am aging ‘gracefully.’ It’s like a nice way of saying I now look worse. The most painful part is when you spot that first grey hair…on your kid.

Some final words of advice for my crew: Live each day as if was your last because one day, you will get it right.