When I were a lad, 53 was proper old. You had uncles and aunts that age and they were moments from death's door. And you didn't give a huge shit. You get old, you die. But now I'm here, it doesn't seem quite so aged or terminal, not if I ignore the aches, pains and creeping decrepitude. I once asked my 82 year old father-in-law how old he was inside his head and he said 27. Me? I'm 26. Back then, I had two good knees (pre my 9 operations - which I never talk about), shitloads of brown hair and a firm-ish tummy. I was ok looking, single and a qualified solicitor. I mean, what a catch, albeit, no-one seemed to be fishing in my immediate vicinity. Notwithstanding, it was and remains the ideal age to stop maturing.
Being 26 in my head is all well and good, but the 53 year old body is being a bit of a shit about things. I hobble everywhere, my hair's grey (though, small-mercifully, otherwise intact) and I feel the cold, even when it's warm. And the heat. Oy! The body starts giving up the ghost way too soon, in my view. Now it's in a losing battle with a mind marooned in mid-twenties self-delusion, a mind baffled by the inability to chase down that wide forehand or run up the stairs. It's still giving the right orders. Even if it has to deal with mortgages, parents' evenings, breakdown insurance, ISAs, it will never grow up, never accept that it's trapped inside a fading physical entity. It focuses on football, Su Doku on the iPad, worrying - properly worrying - about Andy Murray's quest for a Grand Slam and no-lighty-no-likey TV - and quite enjoys One Direction's latest single.
There are many tragic oldsters who, like me, don't own a suit and still have a crack at wearing those useless-in-the-snow Converse thingies on their feet. But why not? I'll be dead soon enough, especially if I carry on cycling around Kentish Town. Not that I'll be able to do that for long - 9 knee operations; there's very little mileage left on that particular clock.
But let's not talk about that.