It’s a question I’ve been asking myself lately. I even wrote a poem about it.
Then I realised that nobody is ever going to say ‘yes’. Why? Good question. I guess because the word ‘old’ has so much baggage attached to it. It is weighted down with notions of decrepitude, diminished faculties, failing health, dependency and the imminent approach of the grim reaper. So much so, that our culture is terrified to even speak the word.
‘Old’ is not just the opposite of ‘young’. ‘Old’ means beyond the pale, beyond hope.
So if one is no longer young, and cannot claim to be even middle-aged, what is one? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below!
In the meantime, a friend challenged me to enter a short-radio-play writing competition, so I did. I wrote a ten minute piece in which a woman my age (Australian, lives in London) discovers her even older sister (lives in Rockhampton, Qld) is in the early stages of dementia, and teases her over-anxious, “don’t call me middle-aged” daughter. That was “Kind Like Karen”. I recorded myself playing all four characters, edited it with sound effects and sent it off.
Then I realised it was so much fun, that I wanted to make another one. So I did. “Speaking as a ‘not young person'”. I sent that in to the competition too.
Eventually, I received notification that “Kind Like Karen” had been accepted, but not the other one. The judges thought it ended too abruptly, suggesting how I could have added more…
At that point, with ideas for at least two more episodes stewing in my lightly addled brain, I decided to broadcast them myself, hence the podcast “Am I Old Yet?”, now available for your listening pleasure here.
Here is a wee taster of Episode 1
I’d love it if you’d have a listen. And if you like it, download it to your podcast listening app, so that you’ll receive new episodes as they come out. It has occurred to me that I may have found a way of channelling my pandemic rage into something positive!