It’s my birthday today. I am 48, or maybe 36 or even 88, I’m not so sure anymore.

It’s a curious thing being this age and my inner Carol Vorderman comes out in spades when I think about it. I am as near to 80 as I am to 16, which seemed like yesterday, which, although clichéd, is true. I do feel like a teenager, on occasion, at certain times of the day, but then I go to get up and feel like a geriatric with the constant noises that emanate when moving from inert.

I still buy trainers, which I often refer to as ‘crepes’ or ‘sneakers’ at school as an inane attempt to get down with the kids, who share not so secret glances at each other when I speak their lingo. Although my use of language is jovial, they do not get the irony, and I can mind read that they feel pity for the old boy struggling at the front to make cashflow forecasts interesting.

I recently bought a limited-edition pair of 3-stripes designed to celebrate some centenary or other. A red, white and blue number, I wore them and felt like I had some semblance of youth back until my wife clapped eyes, reminded me I was 50 ‘soon’ and questioned why I was wearing children’s footwear.

Watford Observer:

Should a man who is nearly 50 wear trainers?

I search for youthful activity online, such as festivals and events, but balk when I see there are other people, in their thousands, due to attend. The toilets look like a Strangeways dirty protest and I cant bear the thought of four days without a shower, so I decide to give it a miss.

Holidays, once involving backpacks, adventure and all-nighters with friend and foe alike, are now the polar opposite, although this change is blamed on the fact that I have kids. The intent to have one last hurrah is there, maybe through a once in a lifetime drive along Route 66, but the reality is a self-catering apartment in Benidorm, with a request that we are well away from the on-site nightclub in the quiet zone. The thought of going clubbing fills me with dread although it would be fun if, like ‘the olden days’ they had rooms playing 80’s music at a ‘respectable’ volume, as this new-fangled drill music does little but make the half-centenarian's ears bleed.

Gripes are many: the council tax is too high, they are building too many houses at the bottom of the road, the police have again gone AWOL as they choose to fight crime through the medium of relentless social media updates in which to prove their worth, as we do what we tell the kids not too and sweat over the small stuff.

Filling in forms online becomes a pain and gives you RSI as, not only have you now dropped down to the 45-54 age category as you are well past the peak of the life cycle, but you have to scroll down for what seems like an eternity to get to 1973.

Watford Observer:

Drill music for the middle-aged man

Car engines take on added importance, as do soakaways and fence posts. And, having now proven yourself as a semi-skilled DIYer, family members come out the closet and request you come over and knock up a set of shelves or drill a few holes, which you gladly do to give a sense of middle aged self-worth.

But you cling to youth, or fragments of it, for as long a humanely possible. The weekly five-a-side Tuesday night football games are now monthly due to ‘the back’ and you manage to get out on the bike where, when the inevitable injury comes, the healing time is what it was 20 years ago, trebled.

So yes, happy birthday to me as I admire my gifts of Lynx Africa, some tyre sealant and 15 bottles of Jack of the Daniels. No doubt in 10 years’ time I look back and wish I was 48 again as the delivery guy drops off my new pair of light up Nikes which will to others will stand me out as a clown, but will, to my mind, style me as an aging eccentric, and that’s not a bad place to be….

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher