There are but four short days before I pass from my forties to my fifties and I ponder with horror the wide abyss that has opened between "life begins at 40" and my half century.
This reaction was prompted when I contemplated my manly form pre-shower at the weekend which led me to realise I am no longer a chiselled Adonis. My body reminded me of the outcome of a forensic archaeology TV programme where the re-created skull of some poor soul who has been ritually sacrificed before being eaten, shows him to be slightly alarmed, harmless, in need of a shave and the culprit when his hairy chums try to identify who had been eating all of the pies. In short, he is the perfect subject to be eaten, which explains why he is slightly alarmed.
Thankfully, with cannibalism being illegal and with my age meaning I am now likely to be a little tough, I will not be destined for the dinner plate.
But to misquote Queen Elizabeth I, I may now have the body of a weak, feeble fifty year old but I have the heart and stomach of a King. My experience in front of the mirror proved these physical attributes to me. Fortunately, I do not have to lead an army into battle unlike the French President, Francois Hollande who with 9 years on me and a 15 per cent approval rating from the French electorate, has taken up with an actress almost 20 years his junior with whom he feasts on croissants delivered by his security team when he is chez Maitresse.
Putting aside the reaction Mrs Pickwick would have if I achieved the same (which would be influenced by her medical training and the fact she has been known to sleep with the carving knife under the bed), I am left feeling a mere shadow of Monsieur Le Presidente. At the age of 50 and some, how does he do it? Morals aside at the age I am about to reach, I have always been a one man woman for many reasons, the principal of which is logistical. Speaking as a man who regularly loses his glasses, how can I possibly lead a double life if I cannot locate my glasses in a single one (true, I could buy two pairs of glasses, however my point still stands I hope you agree). I will therefore never be President and so will grow old gracefully with Mrs Pickwick and my children not hating me.
But returning to the shock of my newly arriving age, there are some home truths that alarm me. How can I be 70 in 20 years? When will my prostate start to announce its presence to me such that I understand what it does, what happens when it stops working and will be finally able to locate it a search similar to locating the stop cock at the time of a burst pipe (a parallel which is both the symptoms of a dodgy prostate and its antithesis). Also, when will the earth move only during moments of intense tectonic activity rather than as directed by me with the cooperation of Mrs Pickwick, the Moon, Stars and a bottle of Prosecco.
I must not forget that it's not all bad arriving at the big five O. I am now eligible to go on Saga holidays and have the benefit of a roller coaster of experience that has caused my hair to wither and feelings of inner peace and possibility to overcome me whenever I watch a performance by Beyoncé. Everything works although sometimes it takes longer to achieve my cruising speed and I may have to have my big end replaced once I have completed 100,000 miles.
At this new age, I would be a 20 year old Alfa Romeo if I was a car - stylish but with a questionable safety record and a slightly unpleasant smell the source of which cannot be determined. If I was an animal, it would be the Cocker Spaniel who I have become the living embodiment of in recent years - faithful, with blood shot eyes and private parts of such a size that you wince when it ascends a flight of stairs. For President Hollande, he would be an old Citroen that rises up whenever you turned the engine on, and a cart horse, noble, beady eyed with the ability to drag enormous weights and adeptness of the International Space station docking with an approaching space craft when engaging with the ladies.
Catching sight of myself in mirrors, shop windows and spoons to prepare for this new age, I have become a stooping figure, with enormous cheeks (depending on which side of the spoon you look at) and a thoughtful demeanour hiding the weight of the World on my shoulders lightened by a tendency to laugh at fart gags.
I wil not share my new found age with the stags that I work with afraid I may get challenged by the youth beneath me in my organisation during rutting season leading to me limping away leeding with broken antlers, not having the pick of the ladies and being set upon by wolves. This must mean that age must not stop me. Life must always remain a feast of possibilities that you strive for. A donkey will pull harder if a carrot is placed in front of it mouth. A banker will strive harder if a bonus is offered to him. And President Francoise Hollande will work harder if presented with an actress 18 years his junior.
To remain youthful, I must strive for the actress. Monsieur le President, I salute you.Suggest a correction