As far as perceptions of age are concerned, I’m officially over the hill. I turned 40 last year and, despite some claims that it’s the new 30, I’m yet to feel it. Particularly of late.
I don’t know whether it’s because of lockdown fatigue creeping in, the cumulative stress of seven years trying to move house or the fact that we finally managed to do so, but I’m starting to feel middle-aged well before my time.
Let’s examine some of the evidence for this ‘middle age dread’ as I like to call it. One of my big recent highlights was getting a water butt. Closely followed by when it eventually rained and we got a little bit of water in it.
Last weekend, I spent more than an hour making a spreadsheet of all our monthly outgoings, having a rant about price hikes in the process. I then spent a similar amount of time ripping up bindweed and cursing it for nearly strangling our runner beans.
And last week, I actually got mardy about our bin being missed on collection day.
But having kids keeps you young, right? Well, to a certain degree, yes. I’m still pleased that one of the silver linings of life in lockdown is more time with them.
However, they’re growing up so quickly and I can feel my status of relatively cool dad starting to slip away.
Yesterday, I was chatting with the eight-year-old about a game he plays on his tablet when I got the name of the in-game reward wrong. And he did a face.
I had never seen this expression on any of the kids, but immediately recognised it. He was puzzled and amused in equal measure that I got something so basic so hilariously incorrect.
I remember feeling the same sense of incredulity at the same age. The realisation that your parents don’t know everything is quite a moment. Not to mention a gift that keeps on giving.
Then there are some of the things that he and his siblings watch on telly. I have to admit that I just don’t get some of them. Plus I find others both objectionable and crass. Yes, Captain Underpants, I’m looking at you.
And finally, we ventured out for some fresh air at the weekend. The kids wanted to bring their scooters but, remembering them belting ahead last time, I persuaded them a walk would be nicer. And I still couldn’t keep up with them. Oh deary me.
I’ve always been a little old before my time – the great slipper quest of 2011 is testament to that – but I’m determined not to succumb to middle age just yet.
But first, a nap.