You know you’re old when …

Sitting at a cafe today, I was sippin’ on a (with Lime!) and contemplating my navel when I overheard a conversation occurring at the next table.

I truly wont bore you with the verbal diarrhea that spouted like some form of craptacular fountain centerpiece, but you can just imagine the usual banter that is formulated by a barely adolescent, loaded pack of males. There was the usual big noting, tales of macho toughness and, of course, the obligatory feats of conquest. All of which had a distinct “Dear , I always thought your letters were made up until …” feel to them.

Which got me to thinking, there’s only a tad over a decade between those guys and myself, but it might as well be an .

Although I barely feel my age either emotionally or physically, mentally, it’s a whole other story.

I’ve come to realise that my view of the world, my perceptions of people, and my own reflections of thoughts and ideas has dramatically altered from the heady days of my youth.

All of this is a natural progression of growing up. It is not to say I think (or act!) like an old fuddy-duddy, but I have come to realise that there are certain signs that highlight you’ve reached an age where you can foreseeably begin to say, “shit! I’m getting old!”

The first time I realised this was about a year ago.

I was driving down the central lane of the freeway, heading into the city for some dinner and drinks with friends when I was accosted by an old ’68 in front of me crawling along at 60Km/h.

Traffic was heavier than normal on this day, and as spaces in the adjoining lanes did not avail themselves, my frustration grew. I flashed my lights, honked my horn, yelled obscenities in three different languages and even cursed the drivers entire lineage – all to nil effect.

The in the corner of the rear windscreen gave me the clue that I wasn’t dealing with the usual octarian Sunday driver, which only ballooned my frustration further.

Finally a break in the traffic allowed me to skirt around the offending vehicle. As I passed the clunker, I see the young male driver with a dreamy look on his face, and (presumably) his girlfriend’s head pops up for air from between his lap.

I’m ashamed to say, my first thought was “does he realise how dangerous that is while driving?”

With that thought, I realised my mind had crossed that milestone. I had become “old”.

Since that fateful day, I have become more attuned to other signs of this phenomena. Some examples to highlight my point:

  • It is becoming increasingly difficult to discern from a glance the difference between youths of fifteen and eighteen.
  • I find myself thinking how “we wouldn’t have gotten away with that” way too many times
  • I’m constantly shocked to find a fifteen year old driving alongside me. I then realise they are sporting a P-Plate, and therefore must be at least eighteen
  • Worse – they have no P-plate and therefore must be at least twenty-one
  • I’m constantly depressed when I realise that “” (or for the rest of you) that just sauntered past was the same age as me.
  • Worse – she was younger.
  • I find I’d rather a more mature woman than a “young and firm” specimen, because you can’t buy experience.
  • I’d prefer a slow sip of with a fine than a pack of smokes and a few rounds of cheap .
  • You start to catch up with friends only at marriages and funerals.

Oh, trust me, there are other signs, but at this stage my beer was being diluted by my tears for a carefree youth gone by. It’s true what George Bernard Shaw says, youth is wasted on the young.

At this point I realised that while growing old seems to be compulsory, growing up is not, so, I ordered a few rounds of cheap bourbon and forgot about my age for another day.

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