Like many people, Mrs Pickwick has an unfortunate tendency to complain about her age. Far from being a wizened old hag, she displays radiance and beauty in spades maintained by a routine finely engineered by careful experience and the contents of sweet smelling bottles assuring her she is worth it.
Age is that unmentionable thing we are all inclined to ignore but we can't. It's the black cat in the dark room constantly mewing that it wants to go out.
We grow old in different ways. Gracefully, disgracefully. Proportionately then disproportionately. We try to be distinguished before we are extinguished.
The gradual accumulation of years creating this problem is akin to the clocking up of miles on cars. Cars and newborns are delivered with that wonderful new smell causing their guardians to smile with pride and work to retain their polish. After a period of time, they will begin to develop unpleasant emissions and their body work will not retain the sheen or shape they had when they were delivered. Finally, they start to fail their MOT and be expensive to run.
There is a tipping point in getting older when the "live for the day" mantra moves from a hedonistic desire for the next cool thing to the plain fact that you cannot remember what happened yesterday. And birthdays move from a celebration of what is to come to relief that you have not been picked off by famine, plague or mankind's unwelcome tendency to snuff people out based on the ramblings of a mythical bearded deity.
Gradual impairment will always come. The failure of the prostate in the gentleman is as inevitable as the failure of the pump in a dishwasher, albeit the latter is normally covered on the warranty. Thus, with age comes fear that performance will be impeded and bits will stop working. There is regret at what has or may be lost. This is one of the most defeatist philosophies that I know.
In the bedroom department for instance, men are reminded that their sexual peak is reached at an early age. This means that in their formative years they are driven to incessant humping with an unfortunate partner or more usually Mr Hand and his five lovely daughters, out of fear that the organ in question will break. As the years go by, they move this to a more considered, two-sided approach recognising that the organ can purr if treated properly. And while performance may go down as well as up with age, the same was true of my mate's Skoda in the 1980s which struggled going up but coming down hills it was pumping with gas (as well as emitting oil fumes and losing radiator fluid).
One of the most heartwarming realisations I ever came to was that those who are the most active in their youth tend to age rapidly as they get older. Thus, in University reunions, I have chortled with my chums to realise that the kindly old gentleman in the middle of the room was in fact Captain of the College rugby team. This suggests that mankind has a limited supply of va-va-voom which it needs to use wisely. Unhappy is the man who pursues a inflated leather object around a field as he will suffer dodge of the knees and crook of the back. In truth, this seems to be only fair when considering the pointlessness of the pursuit.
If I was to poke my psyche with a stick, it would be somewhere between the age of 30 and 33. Vibrant, hirsute, flexible, stylish and svelte. When I view a picture of me at that age however, I fail on all fronts. The truth is that we are brought into this World without a readily accessible user manual designed to make the best of things. My ability to operate optimally is thus hampered in the same way that it is when I was learning how to have sex. I knew what I have to press to get there but I had no idea about what went where or the functionality of the equipment, discovering by accident or experiencing in the event of a power outage. I had the same experience when trying to access Xbox live.
The conventional benchmark of getting older is looking at the age of policemen. In recent years, policemen have proved more difficult to locate owing to a gradual reduction of Bobbies on the Beat caused by austerity and outsourcing. This thankfully maintains the illusion of youth. There are however other professions that can be used for this comparison such as Doctors who are seemingly able to perform keyhole surgery before their testes have flown South.
We reach an age when you are left with only one profession who could conceivably be younger than you - leaders of Political parties. Nobody can be older than them surely. It was with great surprise however that I found myself to be older than Nigel Farage. While my boyish appearance is testament to a good moisturising regime, clean living and failing to blame gay people for bad weather, the youth of politicians is now so extreme that all there is left for me to benchmark myself against is Methuselah himself who snuffed it at a youthful 969 years.
Fear of ageing is put into context when looking at the rise of Vintage shops over recent years. In my youth, floral patterns and flares sat unloved in charity shops and boxes of rags. They are now de rigeur among hipster boys and girls who scour the vintage shops of Hoxton and Brick Lane to find them. I expect soon that wrinkles will become king and the swagger will become the stagger. It is happening already with the rise of people wanting to dye their hair grey.
Kanye West once said "I don't know what's better, getting laid or getting paid". It is abundantly clear in the reporting of his utterances that KW is not a fan of getting older. I would be interested to see therefore how this view changes as he gets older. The getting laid and the getting paid will dwindle. And all he will be left with is "I don't know what's better". This and of course his wife's breasts which will descend the stairs in the 21st Century equivalent of a Slinky race every time she comes downstairs for breakfast. If this doesn't break the Internet, there is no justice.