Why Nobody Wants To Be Called Middle-Aged

 

Has anyone ever sat down and wondered at their old photos? It’s my lovely little sister’s sixteenth birthday today, and so we’re sat around, looking at photos from when we were both just tiny tots. And it’s hilarious. I was a victim of the perpetual bad hair day, and my sister just looked like a thug, with the biggest baby head I have ever seen. She also had an adorable little top-knot. It made her look a little bit like a teletubby. Does anyone remember tellytubbies? I used to quite like them.

I also quite enjoy looking at what your parents used to look like, twenty years ago before your teenager strops and tantrums turned them grey, or bald, or thin, or fat. It’s even more strange to look at them in long-forgotten holiday photos, before you were born, when your Mum was still blonde, and your Dad carried a slightly more svelte figure than you’ve ever seen. It’s really, really weird when you realise your mother was the dead spit of you, and therefore you catch something of a glimpse at what you will look like in middle-age.

I always think the phrase ‘middle age’ has slightly negative connotations. The Middle Ages, in Britain at least, were dark, and smelly, on the whole. Technology hadn’t begun to advance, and people had come to something of an intellectual standstill. Illness was rife, death was more common than a bucket of sewage on the head, and to add to this predicament, religious order was still a serious issue. As in, well, there wasn’t one. I think I’ve found the reason why nobody likes to be referred to as middle-aged.

And then there’s the problem of after middle-age. Old. Elderly. An older person. Nobody would ever want to be referred to as old, and I can imagine being unbelievably irritated if somebody had referred to me as old, even if I was about ninety-six years old. Anyway, I have to go, and carry on my excursion down memory lane. I apologise for my collection of thoughts on age; I’ve never known what it’s like to be old, but I suppose one day, it’ll creep right up on me.

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A Friendly Face In A Doctor’s Surgery Is As Rare As A Cuddly Great White Shark

I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been recently trampled by a pack of wild dogs, whilst being forced to ingest razors. My head was pounding, and my throat was on fire. And I sighed, and resigned myself to the usual amount of pre-exam viral infection, and went about trying to do all those things that make you feel better. One of the worst things about living alone when you are ill however is that there’s no one to look after you, and make cups of tea. And this means that really, if I’d like tea, well, I’ll have to scrape myself off my mattress, and go and make some.

I often fantasize about having a robot precisely for this sort of thing. Doing stuff you can’t quite manage to do yourself, or indeed cannot be bothered to do yourself. I wish I had a robot who could book appointments to the doctors. I promised my mum that I’d go tomorrow, if I wasn’t feeling any better, which isn’t a problem in itself, however in order to actually get an appointment, you have to phone as soon as the radio beeps at eight in the morning, and then you spend some time doing battle with the elderly people and the babies, trying to get a slot that isn’t at an entirely preposterous time of day, like ten past eight, or six twenty.

A Standard Day At the Surgery… (1)

Doing battle with the irritable receptionist is also an exercise in patience; I’m not even offered a ‘good morning’ anymore, but instead I’m barked a time, usually something ridiculously inconvenient, at the precise time that the heavens open and I have to walk there in the rain.

Students, unfortunately, alongside middle-aged adults, are at the bottom of the healthcare food chain; we’re too old to be considered children, and our immune systems are reaching their peak. The elderly always seem to fill up the waiting room, and yet seem perfectly healthy whilst they chat to their friends at high volume, because none of them have their hearing aids switched on. When my friends and I are in attendance, we’re usually bleeding, coughing, or expelling some kind of bodily fluid. One could say that we at least have the decency to look as though we need medical attention.

So now I’m definitely feeling as though exam season is approaching. I’ll probably miraculously recover about twenty minutes after the end of my last exam, but up until then the only exciting thing I shall be doing is taking regular paracetamol, and taking in lots of fluids. I shall probably spend too much time watching Sex and the City and revising from my bed, with a book. I like the circulatory nature of university life; we begin the year with Fresher’s Flu, and end it with something I like to refer to as “exam fever”. Living together is like a breeding ground for viral infection, especially if you’re frequenting the nightclubs and bars on a regular basis too. It’s days like today when I start to think Sheldon Cooper is on to something about avoiding people and infection…

I must dash anyhow. I need to slump and make some more tea. (Or text my flatmate to see if she’ll do it…)

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(1) http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/jdi/lowres/jdin31l.jpg

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