March 20 2014: The world is confusing when you were born in 1986 instead of 1926

The Evening Times opinion column, March 20 2014

If you’re only as young as you feel then I’m afraid I’ve gone the other way … because I’m getting on for about 74.

Our society has long been obsessed with youth and trying to stop the ageing process – but I have embraced my inner old age pensioner.

It started with a love of endless cups of tea and scones. And now my oldfashioned mind rears its head all the time.

For example, the thought of internet banking fills me with dread. How can money be guided all over cyberspace, which is already a messy place to be? It’s just not right. Banking should be done inside the bank, face to face.

In fact, I’d feel better if all business was done in person – that way you wouldn’t have to deal with computers.

And don’t mention self-scan tills in the supermarket.

I spend my life queuing for a real person to serve me in my local shop, after having nightmares over the “unexpected item in the bagging area” telling-off voice.

Even nights out are changing. I met friends recently on a Saturday evening and didn’t touch a drop of alcohol. We were taking part in a marathon fitness night – not an obvious activity of choice for a wannabe OAP.

But once I was over the shock of the energetic zumba, the main selling point for me was how pleased I’d be in the morning with no hangover. I felt the sort of pride that no-one in their 20s has felt ever.

I read a feature in a glossy magazine recently where women were asked to say what age they feel.

They were all in their 30s and most said they felt about 19.

Granted, many older folk probably feel much younger than they are too – but not me. A few of my friends – we possibly gravitate towards each other – are old souls, too. One pal even bought heated slippers for herself, only to be informed that they were the “ideal gift for the elderly”.

It’s not just that I identify with older generations, I admire them.

My grandma is approaching her 88th birthday and despite being frail – “my body’s gan done”, as she describes it – she is the best company. Apart from living a fascinating life and bringing up five children, my grandma, like many others her age, has battled cancer and numerous other health problems.

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Photograph: Me, aged one, with my grandma

There is nothing better than sitting in her warm wee home watching the soaps and having a chat about life.

It seems like the tide may be turning in popular culture.

No longer are young starlets the be-all and end-all. The popularity of actresses such as Helen Mirren and Judi Dench proves this.

I like being old before my time. It somehow makes you feel a bit wiser. But the world can be a very confusing place when you were born in 1986 instead of 1926.

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