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  • Writer's pictureRebel Jones

Oh That's Just Old Age

I'm not the kind of person to go to the doctor's. I'd rather suffer in silence (by which I mean grumble to the cat and make 'Urgh' noises periodically). And I have a list of pre-made excuses, ready for when family members push me to 'just get checked out'. Just get checked out? This isn't a B&B that needs vacating by 11am. The fact that I live in what used to be a hotel is merely a coincidence. No checking out required (although I wouldn't say no to room service now and then!)

Anyway... A few weeks ago (in some moment of madness), I broke the 'No Doctors' rule and found myself sat in the waiting room. Blood was drawn, tears were wept (by the small child who sat by my side) and the usual 'If you've not heard anything by the end of the week' speel was spouted. FYI - if you think taking your little lamb to watch some fiend of a woman drain tube after tube of blood from their mother is a good idea, think again. I've potentially traumatized my son in his prime. And he may never trust a hunch backed nurse again!

Oh That's Just Old Age

Anyhow, not 24 hours later, and the call came. 'Doctor would like to schedule an appointment to discuss the results. They can speak to you in 3 days.'

3 days? You convinced me that I needed a blood test, seemingly rushed the results (because never in my adult life have I known it take less than a week). And then, leave me to self-diagnose for 3... long... days.

Fortunately, Google helped me to correlate a list of potential outcomes.

Unfortunately, it ranged from mild anaemia to certain death in 4-6 weeks. 1 star Google. That's all I'm willing to rate you for this service.

3 days turned into 2. 2 into 478, or so it felt. It was the not-knowing; the anguish. And the large vocabulary of frivolous words that I insist on using when altogether unnecessary.

Should I make a will? How do I make a will? Do I need to find a solicitor? Or can I just write my own, lock it in a safe and have the pin number tattooed on the sole of my foot in roman numerals?

What about my children? What about my cat? What about my house plant, Monty? Will my husband remember to feed any of them?

And then the phone call came...

'It's the doctor here. There's nothing to worry about. You're iron levels are lower than we'd like...' OK Google, it was anaemia after all. 2 stars.

'Your symptoms.. Erm, I'm see from your notes that you're suffering from pain in your hands. A lot of people get that if, like yourself, they've worked on computers for an extensive number of years. You should consider consulting your Occupational Therapist."

Clearly, this GP didn't understand my self employed status. I am the OT. I am the receptionist, the PA, the accountant, graphic designer, barista (when I can't convince my eldest child to switch the kettle on) and, of course, epic writer.

The self employed show is a lonely one. But don't worry, I'll leave a sticky note that will inevitably get blown away for the 'right department' to deal with this.

She then went on to say "You've also mentioned weight gain? Yes, well, that's just old age. It comes to us all. There's nothing we can do about it.' I went through all of that just to have someone, who's never even met me face to face, tell me that I'm old? Old? I'm 40. I'm not old.

40 is the new 30, or 50. I can't remember which. It's when life starts falling into place. And you find your feet in some comfy warm slippers. It's when you stop pretending to be all the things that you're not, like sociable, or good at running. And enjoy going to bed before 2am...

Oh That's Just Old Age

What the hell - I got old. And I didn't even notice it happening. It's like one day I was modelling in abandoned buildings (true story) and staying up all night, and the next I woke up with a bunch of responsibilities and a body that makes creaking noises whenever I move.

Of course, my adoring children will deny this fact, telling me that I'm not old. And my hairdresser (probably hopeful for a tip) flatters me with 'I'm genuinely shocked - I would have only put you in your early 30's'. However, as far as anything medical, or insurance wise goes; as far as my easy-fit jeans and stubborn grey hairs are concerned, I have reached that senior age. I have entered the 40-49 tick box.

And I will no longer be asked for ID when buying a pair of scissors from B&M. Now, it seems like the cashier takes one look at me and assumes that I must be old enough to handle sharp objects. Gone are the days of feeling young and rebellious while purchasing office supplies.

But, as I sit here, enjoying a solitary 3-7 minutes in my office, (because peace is not a regular guest in this house) I'm thinking, so what? If this is old age, if this is me, now kicked off the stage and into the side-lines, so's to make room for the next generation. I'm OK with that. Will I sit quietly in the shadows, and wilt, like a forgotten sunflower?

Oh That's Just Old Age

Of course not! I'm going to heckle the comedy act before me with all my might. I'm going to grab my metaphorical bowl of popcorn. And make politically incorrect fun of the world.

Yes, I may be getting old on paper, however, I don't feel it (other than when I step off the treadmill, with a heart similar to that of an 80 year old at his first strip club). I'm living my best life (she says with a pile of unread sticky notes to one side and yesterday's cold cup of coffee to the other). I now understand how people can look back on their monumental screw ups and questionable life choices, and still find peace, or solace, with a sense of self worth for getting beyond all of that.

Am I going to make better decisions, along with more home made bread and scones? Probably not - gluten free dough is practically inedible.

But am I going to live more moments to the max, run more miles on the treadmill and embrace the grey hairs like an aging rock star?

Of course I am. And so should you.


"I intend to live life, not just exist."

George Takei

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