How old is not young?

20 Jul
A thirty something guy

A thirty something guy

What age does the midlife crisis kick in normally? Maybe it is happening to me as we speak… I already wrote some posts about getting old(er) and now again one. I can feel the time ticking: I feel it in my bones, I notice it in the strength of my glasses (they’re gonna be back soon ;-( and I definitely don’t belong in a dance party anymore.

  • Maybe part of becoming old(er) is also complaining about getting old(er) ?

You’re hot and you’re cold, you’re yes and you’re no, you’re in and your out, you’re up and you’re down,… (Kate Perry)

Hot in the sun - cold in the pool

Hot in the sun - cold in the pool

Why does my back hurt? It had happened before, but it was in Portugal last month that I started to think about it. I got some pains in my back, and sometimes in my right knee and ankle. After a few days it would go away again… and come back again. And then I realized that the pains arrived after swimming and playing with the kids, in ice-cold water (the irrigation tank turned pool).

  • I do like warm countries and hot people, whereas the cold does not seem to have a good effect on me.

Maybe it’s arthritis? (this is the moment you have to say “at your age, impossible” as everybody does) My mum’s got it, so maybe it runs in the family. Soon I don’t need any forecast anymore to know what weather it will be the next day, in stead I’ll be able to feel it in my bones…

But why is it only my right knee and ankle that hurts? Hm, it is a fact that human beings in general are asymmetric (and illogical). I vaguely suspect though that my encounter with lightening in Nepal back in 1999 has something to do with it. When I was up in the mountains at my host family’s place, one day me and the son were struck by lightening. (not directly because otherwise I would be writing this from heaven, but by the rebound of the lightning off a wall). I was sitting on a step with my right foot on the ground. The lightning (electricity) crept up my shin, continued over the backside of my thigh and then left my body, via the body part that turned out very useful as a ‘lightning rod’. “How on earth can you know” I hear you ask. Well, because I’m afflicted with hairy legs, you could see where the lightening had scorched the hair on its way…

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king.

Oh no, the glasses are back...

Oh no, the glasses are back...

Not sure it is me, or Lidl (Europe-wide discount supermarket chain) why I’m starting to have difficulties to read. I simply can’t read the small print of the ingredients anymore, which Lidl prints on their products in 25 languages so it can sell exactly the same item all over Europe. And there’s not all that much space on a jar of jam or a packet of tea to print the obligatory info.

But I suppose that my eyesight is getting worse as well. I had a laser eye-operation 8 years ago to get rid of my glasses, but it seems they will be back soon. I did a first timid test in an optician in Malaysia, and he was adamant that I should buy glasses from him. I first had to digest the bad news, but when I saw reading glasses in a lovely bright purple case on a market in Pattaya, I cut the crap and invested in my reading.

In Portugal my eyes got very dry, to the extent that I had to buy eye drops (fake tears) or keep my eyes closed for an hour or two (I opted for the first solution). Or it could be the hot & dry weather, or on the contrary the cold air-con in the car. Maybe my eyes dried out because I was seeing too many places around Portugal (read here)? Maybe I’ve seen too many things (in Asia?) I shouldn’t see?

Cinderella goes partying

One of the reasons we went for a weekend to Oporto was also to plunge into the nightlife there with the lads. It wasn’t easy to find (maybe because we were too early, or our map-reading is too lousy, or there is no gay life in Oporto?) but eventually we managed to find a disco.

  • When I started to go out (back then) there were lower age limits and you couldn’t get in if you were too young.
  • Here it looked more like the opposite: it was definitely not a place where any over-30 guys or girls would go (unless you wanna look out of place – so we did).

The music was quite a challenge: partly because I had forgotten my ear plugs (don’t laugh! a colleague of mine worked as a roadie/technician for big bands and always wears professional tailor-made earplugs, because research showed that in 75% of the discos and concerts the music is too loud and repeated exposure causes ear damage! They were not even allowed near a stage without those earplugs…) and also because the songs all seemed to have the same beat. I thought that different songs should have different beats and rhythm – obviously not.

Some people grow immune to wine, others still have to practice a lot

Some people grow immune to wine, others still have to practice a lot

But we were inside already – and the Portuguese system has a ‘minimum charge’. So as long as you haven’t drunk the minimum amount, they won’t let you out unless you pay a penalty. So we just continued in our misery, smiling at the babies hopping up and down…

Seems that I’m not made to last after midnight. I don’t turn into a pumpkin or maid yet, nor do I wear glass shoes, but maybe that’s the next stage of getting older. And alcoholic drinks don’t agree with me much anymore. The standard portion of wine you get in Portugal with your meals is enough to make me happy – and to make me suffer with some headache soon after (or maybe that’s just an indication of the quality of the wine they give with a ridiculously cheap 5€ 3 course menu of the day).

When going out for dinners, I’m even starting to have difficulties finishing my portion of food, and emptying the plates of my dinner companions as well, as I used to do. Jeeez, I hope I’m not getting anorexic, otherwise I’ll have to start a modeling career (pfff). So I have to apologise to my friends & colleagues, that I can’t carry out my usual function of ‘poubelle de table’ anymore (the bin for leftovers).

People change and resist change

Meat for lunch, meat for dinner, meat for...

Meat for lunch, meat for dinner, meat for...

Maybe it’s the influence of laid back (Buddhist) Asia, or of spending a month in rural Portugal, (or just age) but it seems I’m growing less tolerant and intercultural. The Oporto disco-experience above is just one example of it – I’m simply not open-minded to different ‘rythmic’ (boom boom boom) music anymore (at 50 decibel over the limit ;-), nor to 18 year old boys flaunting their bodies around… (VIPs read here ;-)

I have difficulties adapting to local (Portuguese) culture: I couldn’t put up with eating oversized meat with fries swimming in grease and vinegar salad with raw onion twice a day for a month ;-) And horror, I start to make a point of getting off a train before I let the other pushy passengers on board ;-) But television and radio is the worst: I would go to the toilet or even switch the channel while they have 15minutes of commercials twice an hour. It’s appalling how culturally insensitive I’ve become…

  • Maybe I should follow one of my own Intercultural Learning training courses…
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