On getting old – AF

As I’m on the verge of embarking on my 29th rotation around the sun, it has dawned on me more than ever this past year that I’m getting old. older. whatever. I’ve started noticing it in the little things. Like, the fact that I can’t go run 10k , 5k, 2k, climb a flight of stairs anymore after a night of drunken debauchery that ends with a 7am falafel and a luke-warm beer. Or maybe it’s the fact that instead of having my annual birthday rager that usually keeps the whole neighborhood awake for the night and chills our relationship with the neighbors for the coming year, I chose to spend it with friends dressed as a retired Scottish groundskeeper this year.

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The first time I noticed I was getting older, was at the Nespresso store recently. If there’s one thing you absolutely must avoid under any given circumstance when you’re scarce on time, it’s going to the Nespresso store during your lunch-break, because it is the biotope of the most feared time-wasting species. The old people. Wedging themselves in between the counters with their walkers, clinging to vendors and shop assistants with useless questions trying to glut their desire for attention. They will taste every.single.blend at the tasting counter, and they will be all over the chocolates. I remember, in my younger days, heading into this store in a naive and mistaken hurry to pick up some capsules and being antagonized by all of them hogging the espressobar, just to buy 2 packs of chocolates.

I would twist and turn and squeeze my way in between the line, sighing every 3 seconds in a vain attempt to move things along, which they evidently never did.

A few weeks ago, whilst sitting at that very same coffeebar surrounded by older couples and sipping my second espresso, waiting for my order to be processed, I recognized one of these rushed youngster, a version of what I would have been a few years ago and I realized I now felt much more at easy hogging the espressobar with my newly found age-peers. Old age had finally broken me as I neared 29. I chuckled and ordered my third espresso.

But not all is bad : I also notice I’ve matured. I’ll happily trade in that ‘last’ beer at the bar in favor of a sense of productivity in the morning. No I won’t. But I’ll resist a little longer before finally caving to the peer beer pressure. But it’s something already I figure. Pondering whether or not that last one is a good idea is a first step towards eventually not taking that last one.

As to the downsides often related to aging, I have not yet noticed any of the much-dreaded cerebral decline. I don’t tend to forget things more often, I don’t tend to black out more often (although that can hardly be attributed to old age), and I haven’t found myself talking to someone whose name I couldn’t remember. I don’t really fear it neither, I think that if/when it happens, it could only unburden me as I have a tendency to remember even inessential and trivial details, how useless they may be.

In any case, Cicero taught me not to fear cerebral decline because as he wisely states :

“I certainly never heard of any old man forgetting where he has hidden his money! The aged remember everything that interests them, their appointments to appear in court, and who are their creditors and who their debtors.”

Obviously problems for later as i) I don’t have enough money to forget where it’s hidden now, ii) professional courtesy obligates me from remembering my appointment in court if I want to eventually alleviate the aforementioned problem i) and iii) I feel everyone owes me something and I owe nothing to anyone. So there. Cicero for the win.

But contrastingly to my dislike of old people, I can’t wait to be old myself. Old age bestows you with a sense of authority to scold youngster that I like. I also very much adhere to the principles regarding old age as laid out by Montaigne. I don’t fear old age nor death. I welcome it as an old friend. I use the knowledge of its inevitability as a guideline to a better life. The Egyptians had a custom where in the height of their feasting and mirth, they brought in a dried skeleton of a man into the room to serve for a memento to their guests : “Think each day when past is thy last, the next day, as unexpected will be the more”. It’s the Egyptian equivalent of ‘drink up your cup and fill it up’ basically.

Plutarch says it more eloquently : “The premeditation of death is the premeditation of liberty; he who has learned to die had unlearned to serve”.

So who’s got a skeleton for me?

Then again, when iPhoto reminds me of what I did this last year, I figure I’m not that old. Probably. In any case, if the steadily rising levels of decadence that were last year are any sign of what’s to come next year, sign me up please.

Here’s a short, non-exhaustive list of 2016’s highlights:

We managed to take over an airplane-bar mid-flight to Tokyo and go robot-dancing in Japan :

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I unknowingly entered the subverted “most-racist costume” competition by dressing up as Will Smith

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Got my first taste of what it feels like to be deceived by false advertising

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Witnessed the life-altering event of having a drink spilled over me in the shape of a bird (!!!)

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Managed to make THE ugliest Christmas sweater of the 2016 F/W season

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Organized a Russian-themed Newyear’s party that would have made the Kremlin jealous…

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…and invented a FaceTime-stick during the 2-day afterparty for people who fell off the AA-wagon

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Hopped over to Milan for a weekend to realize the iphone takes pretty decent panorama’s and scoop up a profile picture on top of the Duomo

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Passed by Paris a couple of times to sprain my ankle on the cobbled streets of Montmartre and at the Louvre witness the hipster-equivalent of bringing your typewriter to Starbucks

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Dressed up as D’Artagnan for an evening

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Then a seemingly endless string of bachelor parties abroad started, where  banana-costumes were never far away

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nor were priest outfits

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nor were 90’s boyband outfits mandatory when throwing gin around at 7 am on a Polish rooftop bar

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I even managed to squeeze in a stint in Cuba for some long-overdue cigar shopping and spelunking (which surprisingly not everyone seemed to like as much)

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Then it was off to Tuscany for what would have arguably been described in a teen-magazine as the “ultimate Italian dream wedding”

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Then I passed by Milan briefly again to finally see the real cultural heritage of the city

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Which was needed given the weekend-long binge I was about to embark on in what could arguably be called the world’s best outfit

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And to close it all off, the summer couldn’t have been complete without one last wedding in France’s Provence in what was possibly the world’s hottest/most humid church.

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So here’s to the next rotation, may the axis remain steadily at 23.6 degrees.

MM

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