Staying Forever Young

I'M not particularly worried about getting old as I intend to spend the twilight of my years as disgracefully as I can. I'm looking forward to retiring but I have made up my mind that daytime TV, milk puddings, complaining about the weather, Horlicks and elastic stockings will not figure in my future.

I will be on the look-out for a toy boy with a Harley Davidson, just in case the dearly beloved can't keep up with me. He's on the look-out for a 20-year-old heiress with spare season tickets for Manchester Utd whose father owns a brewery, but I'm not worried as I very much doubt whether he'll find her sipping pints in our local pub arguing the relative merits of David Beckham and Wayne Rooney.

I have been encouraged in my determination to stay forever young by the recent BBC programme The Young Ones. This Big Brother For Geriatrics took six elderly former celebrities and immersed them in an era from their heyday, the premise being that if they could trick their minds into thinking it was 1975, their bodies would follow suit.

Astonishingly, this seemed to work for the six who entered the house with varying degrees of immobility and ill health. Lionel Blair, 78, Sylvia Syms, 76, Kenneth Kendall, 86, Dickie Bird, 77, Liz Smith, 88, and Derek Jameson, 80, spent a week in the house, re-living the 70s. It had all the trappings of that glorious era, complete with Teasmades, Party Seven beer, pineapple and cheese on sticks, swirly wallpaper and lurid carpets.

They were cut off from 2010 television and newspapers and weren't even allowed to know the result of the Football World Cup final. If only they had been allowed in a week or two earlier then they could have saved themselves the whole sorry spectacle - but you can always foresee afterwards, as my Uncle Jack used to say.

The six began to forget their aches and pains and get a new lease of life as they not only remembered their glory days but began to live them all over again. It was all quite uplifting and showed how important a positive mental attitude is when it comes to ageing. The six went through a battery of physical tests when they started the experiment and again when they left the house. All of them showed a significant improvement.

So I'm off to immerse myself in the 1980s when I was a slip of a thing full of idealism, altruism, romanticism and optimism. I still have plenty of -isms but they tend to be of the cynicism, anachronism, verging on alcoholism and heading for an aneurism variety.

I've dug out my jackets with the shoulder pads and rolled up sleeves and have been watching re-runs of Dynasty and Dallas on TV. I wonder if I can get Keith Chegwin to swap my Wham! poster for a Rubik's Cube on Multi-Coloured Swapshop? My Human League and Duran Duran LPs are just about as crap as I remember them and I have rekindled my crush on Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones.

So, I'd better go. I have so much to do before I snuggle down to sleep under my Madonna, Like A Virgin duvet. This big hair doesn't comb itself, you know, and Jane Fonda needs me to keep her company as she goes for the burn. See you later when, hopefully, I will look and feel 25 years younger.

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  1. I found this fascinating too. 'Use it or lose it' was the message and better still it's not too late to use it even if you've given up a bit already. Now I must just try to work out what my heyday was.

  2. I love that Madness song! Great post. I refuse to get old too - I'm staying at 29 and I think I'll stay 29 for ever and ever!

  3. Why not go the whole hog and return to 1970? You could put on a school uniform, wear pigtails and ask teacher to spank you. I bet the experience would make you as frisky as doe in the rutting season.

  4. I adore your line about isms - yours could be mine!

  5. Although I'm past the date, I have refused to go past my 39th birthday and have decided to stay that age forever, no matter what my passport says. I don't know exactly what my era was, but I think that maybe it is now, although I don't pretend to know anything about the music. Does that disqualify me?

  6. My husband was telling me about that TV programme - he said Dicky Bird was a revelation, much more sprightly when he came out.

    Think I may join you on a 1980s bender. Just wish I hadn't chucked out so much: I used to have a fabulous puffball dress. Sigh.

  7. Oh this is fab and your stance is so much healthier than mine - the full 'woe is me' number.
    Yes, love your idea for your alternative Eat Pray Love book.

    Just read your previous post and see you're a sub at Northcliffe. I used to work there - Evening Standard, then on contract to Mail... (and, um, rotten old hack here who has also fallen in love with the dash....*blush*)...but, hey, that's what subs are for... (grins, ducks and runs away very fast - or at least as fast as I can waddle).

  8. Great idea! Does this mean I get to wear my 80s big hair again? 'Cause just that would rejuvinate me to my old, vivacious self!

  9. Having just turned 65, and already afflicted with chronic illnesses, I was touched by your post. (Actually, I've just hit the 35th anniversary of my 30th birthday.)

    What I did, last year, was buy a dog. Her Ladyship, Miss Sadie is a black, standard-sized, Poodle. Fifty pounds of energy and enthusiasm on four feet. She takes me for a couple of walks each day (unless the weather's totally unfit), and plays with me in the back yard.

    I also serve on a number of ethics committees in our Health Region and our University. And I'll continue to write Op-Ed columns, from time to time, for a Canadian newspaper.

    Strange to say, I feel busy. I think that's probably not a bad thing.

    And I definitely do not feel old. A bit tired, but NOT old!

  10. Absolutely loved this video. Nostalgia or what?