Growing old disgracefully



While I often wish I still had my twenty-something figure I never, ever wish for a chance to go back there.  In my thirties I’m comfortable for the first time in my life.  And, surprisingly I’m not actually dreading my forties.

What I am looking forward to though, is reaching the age when I can behave disgracefully.  Really speaking, I could behave disgracefully now but I want to be an age where I can behave badly and get away with it.  To hell with that, I don’t just want to get away with it, I want to be applauded for it! 

Like the poem “Warning” by Jenny Jones.  This is what I want to do.


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
My grandad was a fantastic example.  He was a small Greek man who spoke very little English, apart from the compulsory swear words.  He shuffled around with a twinkle in his eye, always keeping busy but always looking like a little kid getting into mischief.  His favourite pastimes were finding treasures in other people’s skips and bringing them home in a shopping trolley or in a black sack over his shoulder. That and trying to persuade my nan that they ought to “get romantic”. In their eighties.  Needless to say, she wasn’t having any of it.  He was persistent though.
Mike and I are already planning our rapid tumble into disgrace.
Want to see our list so far?
Ok, you asked for it!
  1. We’re going to buy a caravan and drive down narrow country lanes. S-L-O-W-L-Y. We’re going to watch all the irate drivers behind us as the traffic builds up.  And we’re going to pretend we’re deaf so we can’t hear them yelling at us.  And when they do their rude hand signals, as they’re bound to do after twenty minutes of driving at ten miles an hour, we’re going to wave back to them cheerily!
  2. We’re going to pay for our shopping in pennies.  Lots of shopping.  In pennies. And then when the people behind us start breathing a sigh of relief when we’re counting out the last few we’ll suddenly remember we forgot to buy our haemorrhoid cream and have to shuffle off to find it.  
  3. We’re going to wear mismatched clothes in the worst colour combination imaginable.  His’n’hers style. Then hunt out the trendy grandchildren who are out with their friends and shout and wave at them from across the road.  I might even yell out that I can spell “haemorrhoid” without a dictionary.
  4. We’re going to kiss in front of the grandchildren and children.  Great, big, sloppy, gummy kisses.  Where our cheeks will suck into our faces as we pucker up.  They’re going to hate us.
  5. We’re going to buy mobility scooters and race.  And I’m going to win. And if the plans so far aren’t enough to put our future generations in therapy we’ve got the ultimate plans for their weddings.  We’re going to sing a medley of songs together.  Very badly and tunelessly.  In our mismatched, colour clashing, his’n’her clothes. There we’ll be, up on stage for all their friends and families to see.  (Obviously we’ll let them exchange their vows first. We don’t want to scare off the unsuspecting future spouses before we get the kids married off, of course).  Our song list so far, you ask?  Oh, ok. Since you ask so nicely.  So far we have…
            • The Carpenters: Close to You
            • Sonny and Cher: I Got You Babe
            • John Travolta and Olivia Newton John: You’re The One That I Want
            • Whitney Houston: I Will Always Love You
            • Celine Dion: My Heart Will Go On
            • Bryan Adams: Everything I Do, I Do It For You

We have a problem though.  We just can’t decide whether to have a big finale with Meatloaf and Cher’s “Dead Ringer for Love” or do we do this?

Let me know if you’ve anything for me to add to my list, or if you’re going to join us in our quest for disgracefulness!  Take it away, Barry…. everybody now… “I can’t smile without you….!”

3 thoughts on “Growing old disgracefully

  1. I am with you on the minivan. Except I will want flames on ours! I might even go platinum blonde!
    Oh, I also want the flip flops with giant plastic flowers on them. In purple or red of course.

    Great post!

  2. Thanks for making me laugh! I do believe I embarass my children quite enough just as I am with very little effort put forth on my part…so I'm not sure I'll have to try when I'm old!

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