Act Your Age

How often have you heard this admonition? I have been hearing this all my life. At first it was called “pakami’ which is acting older than your age. Then it was called “chyablami” which is acting younger than your age. It seems I never got to act my age.

When I was young, I would try to act older, and wanted to be considered an adult. This did not happen. But as I grew older, I wanted to be considered younger, and this did not happen either.

When you are in your pre teens, a teenager seems all grown up, and a person in the twenties old. Thirties are positively ancient. You club them along with geriatrics. Entering the teens, the same applies, but with the shift of a decade. Preteens seem like infants now. In the twenties this continues, only you club the teens with the younger children as babies. We had a saying then, don’t trust anyone over thirty. You consider yourself to be the in the prime of youth, and are busy trying to change the world, whenever you have time off from chasing girls. You are also desperate to lose your virginity, and add some substance to all the lies you told your friends about your conquests and prodigious feats in this field, half believing the lies your friends are telling you.

Now come the thirties, and you consider yourself the flower of manhood. By now you are married, probably a dad (or mom, but knowing the male experience firsthand I will restrict my story to that. It is quite similar for women from what I hear, except that they mature way faster than us) the anxieties regarding finding a livelihood, a partner and a place in the scheme of things, our little corner of the world, are over. This is when you are most confident and comfortable about your place in life.

Then it is the dreaded forties. All along you thought that these guys were over the hill. Now you are one of them! Children are older, expenses higher, finances tighter, partner less patient, career stagnating, belly beginning to bulge and grey streaks appearing in the thinning hair. You are desperate to feel younger.

I handled this dreaded birthday by joining a gym, coloring my hair, and getting a new and younger wardrobe, and changing the model of my car. I took to teaching my daughters outdoor games in which I participated with more enthusiasm than skill. I also did a short course in rock climbing, rappelling and other such strenuous activities, and became an adventure sports enthusiast. I tried some very foolhardy stunts for a beginner and a middle aged man, but luckily survived without major injury or worse.

The gym phase lasted a month. The hair color speeded up hair thinning, so was discarded, but led to the grey streaks turning into grey swathes. My rediscovered love for the outdoors, however, remained, but I tried the stunts with better gear and more precautions. Despite strenuous efforts I soon became unable to give serious competition to my daughters in swimming or badminton and they preferred spending the time with their own age group. My wife took to gymming and stuck to it, and preferred to spend the time with serious fitness freaks rather than a huffing spouse. So I was back to spending the evenings lounging around the pool or the bar, with other middle aged guys getting nostalgic for the good old days.

Finally the 50s came around. Panic struck. The dreaded F word! I reacted by joining my wife’s Yoga class, which lasted a week,; going on a crash diet, lost in a fortnight; quitting smoking, off the wagon in a month; getting  skinny jeans and a wardrobe in line with latest teen fashions, which is still in my cupboard. I partied all night dancing to retro numbers much to the embarrassment of my kids, went rafting, climbing and trekking with kids half my age, did a road trip touted as among the most dangerous in the world although I had not driven for four years and had only been a pillion rider on bikes before, returned to herbal methods of expanding consciousness in desperate bids to recapture my youth.

Now my kids tell me to act my age.

I am sure I will be able to reverse time, and the sixties will never happen




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  1. You know what? I had the problem in reverse. When I was younger people took me to be older than I am – now that I am older, people take me to be younger 🙂 The former had to do with shedding hair too early and the latter is cos of non-graying of what remains of my hair 🙂

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  2. I spent my 20’3 and 30’s stressed out, trying to be the ideal Mom, wife and employee. It’s only after I touched 40 did I discover life as it was meant to be lived. They tell me, 50’s is going to be even better.

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  3. I’ve known people in their twenties or thirties that acted prematurely old. Not mature, just old. And I’ve known people in their 70s and 80s that make me tired just watching them, they’re so active. One of the latter is my 87 year old father.
    There is no changing your actual age. Maybe how well you embrace the joys of life is what living is all about.

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