Aging is about saying goodbye and a reminder of the ephemeral nature of life. Botox and plastic surgery are the favoured companions of many these days but they appeal to our fear of life and by inference, death. It is a sad indictment of our society that we do not value older people or the process of aging.
I'm 59, the eldest of four siblings, but have no partner and no children. A sense of inadequacy grows: what can I leave my nephews and nieces, and their children? I don't mean memories; I mean, what that is tangible and lasting, that I can equitably share among them? It's like feeling a phantom limb, a shadowy disconnect with future generations that I so ache to put right.
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.
The population of the UK is ageing. By 2025, half the population will be over 50. Our media and politicians are warning us of the consequences of this for our public services and national debt. What very few people are talking about is one of the ways we can tackle this looming crisis: our personal relationships.
So many of today's stars are chosen to look as close to perfect as possible. Most female celebrities don't have visible eye-bags or spots or jowels or wrinkles like some of us do. Tess Daly, even in her 40s, is more polished than most women in their 20s and 30s. And yet she's teamed on Strictly Come Dancing with ageing 80-something Bruce Forsyth...