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Friday 2 December 2016

Taking the plunge... old man and the sea

Published 31/08/2015 | 02:30

In at the deep end: Swimming a kilometre in Dublin Bay at 6 am at the tender age of 45 is no mean feat, especially in less than balmy water.
In at the deep end: Swimming a kilometre in Dublin Bay at 6 am at the tender age of 45 is no mean feat, especially in less than balmy water.

I've got emails recently about something called the active over-50s show. I'm sure it's a great exhibition and all, but frankly, it has sent me into a minor tailspin. In five years or so I will be an active over-50. So basically am I heading for the scrapheap? I thought 50 was the new 40. But is it actually the new 65?

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And what's with the 'active' over 50s? Is there some kind of suggestion that most of us are drooling in a chair once we hit 50? So we have special shows for the odd one who manages to stay active? Will people start saying to me soon, "Aren't you great to stay so active at your age? And so independent. And you're still living in your own place and everything!" And they'll talk behind my back about how I'm great really for my age. "He's not as sharp as he was, but he's still all there and he usually recognises us. He's a bit slower on his feet since he hit the big five oh but he gets out for a bit of a walk every day, even if it's just to get his few things in the shop."

I presume that ageing is like going bankrupt - you do it two ways - gradually, then suddenly. I like to think that neither of the phases has happened me yet. But that's because I'm in the gradual phase. So you barely notice that you're holding your phone a bit further away each time you try to read a text message, or that it takes a while for the old eyes to focus in the morning. And the rest of it, I just put down to being a bit lived-in. So I have a few war wounds in the heart and in the head, and a slightly gammy arm now too. But that's character. And it's me growing into myself.

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