Monday 19 August 2019

You're 50, Brad, so listen up to a few things you ought to know

Suits you: Brad Pitt, with Angelina Jolie and Maddox Jolie-Pitt, has probably gotten tips off George Clooney.
Suits you: Brad Pitt, with Angelina Jolie and Maddox Jolie-Pitt, has probably gotten tips off George Clooney.

David Thomas

So, Brad, you're turning 50, huh? Welcome to the club. I suppose your old buddy George Clooney's given you a few tips about how to enter one's fifth decade with elegance and grace.

Let's be honest, though: George is different. That man's been getting ready for 50 all his life. He was born a silver fox.

You, on the other hand, have always had that surfer-boy look. It's ironic, really, given that you were actually born -- and not to rub it in -- on December 18, 1963, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, roughly 1,400 miles from the beaches of California.

Your first name wasn't Brad, either. It was William.

But I digress. Must be a symptom of age, I suppose. You see, I'm only a month shy of my 55th birthday, so I'm pretty well equipped to let you know what to expect and how to cope with it all. Now let's get to the nitty-gritty with some helpful tips.

Do... get a haircut. In recent years, you've had a distressing habit of sporting a sort of lank, unwashed bob. Now, Brad, do you remember The Rachel, that cut women all wanted when Friends was first a big hit? Well, you've been getting worryingly close to a Rachel. And if there's one thing a man of 50 shouldn't do, it's borrow a hairstyle from his ex-wife.

Don't... believe people who say men in their fifties shouldn't wear jeans. Granted, men who have the beer-gut and bad dress-sense of Jeremy Clarkson shouldn't wear jeans. But you do not look like Jeremy Clarkson. So long as you've got a personal trainer on your speed-dial, you'll be fine.

Do... pee whenever you get the chance. Here's the thing: turning 50 is by no means a physical disaster. The only thing that lets me down is my bladder.

Don't... worry about sex. There's no reason at all why a man in his fifties can't have great sex. And if there's ever a moment when his equipment starts to flag, why there's always Viag . . . hang on! What am I doing advising you about sex? You're with Angelina Jolie, for heaven's sakes. You were engaged to Gwyneth. Advising you about sex is like giving Bono tips on looking smug: totally superfluous.

Do... appreciate maturity. Any man our age with half a brain should be a grown-up by now. Personally, I feel as though I know myself better than I did.

I've seen enough and experienced enough not to be judgmental about human frailties and failings, because I know that there but for the grace of God go I and everyone else. I appreciate kindness more, both given and received. Having lived through some heady ups and stygian downs, I've learnt that one old cliché is absolutely true: nothing is ever quite as good -- or bad -- as it seems.

Don't... give up. I know men who've stagnated in middle age. They've lost their hunger, their curiosity and their lust for life. They've settled for physical, mental and even spiritual flabbiness. Personally, I'm still bursting with things I want to do, books I want to write, experiences I want to have. I'm sure you are, too. So...

Do... seize the day. Yes, I know, another cliché. But there's a particular reason I mention it: death. Face it, Brad, the statistics say you can expect another 30-odd years on this planet, of which around 25 will be reasonably healthy. So there's time, but not a lot of it.

You're as rich as Croesus, and even if you lost every penny, it wouldn't matter because the missus is just as rich, too. So don't take work just for the pay cheque. Do things because they matter. You studied journalism. You're fascinated by architecture. So write. Design. Build.

Don't... play any kind of sport with the kids. You're getting older, slower, less fit and much more prone to pulled muscles and aching joints. They're getting bigger, faster and better in every way. Let the youngsters run around like idiots.

Do... snooze. Of all the pleasures of a fiftysomething's life, this is the most agreeable. Settle down on the sofa after lunch. Put something sleep-inducing on the TV and drift off to the land of nod.

You'll wake up 20 minutes later feeling refreshed, recharged and ready for anything. Once you've had a pee, that is.

Irish Independent

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