This morning I had an email from my younger brother.
He had a serious question to ask and when I read it I had mixed feelings within.
Before I say what it is I must give a brief rundown on my brother's attitude to something that affects most of us at one stage in our lives.
Or should I say - getting older.
Through the years my brother has had a lot to say about "old people" and it has not always been kind. I am not sure the reason for this. Perhaps because he was involved with Rotary for a long time and some of the people there are very old (compared to someone very young) and they do and say things differently. And they move differently. And have wrinkles. So, you know, that may be fairly confronting to someone who is of the belief that they shall age differently.
My brother often has things to say about my husband's age. Ancient fellow that my husband is. I suppose when you are born in the year of 1969 then I guess a man born in 1953 would be really, really old.
It's always pissed me off they way my brother has been so blatantly and arrogantly ageist. It's rude and disrespectful. But, you know, there is a point in time where we all kind of reach the same age. Where we become one of the "older crowd". Where we know that we ain't young no more in that "classic" young way.
And it has happened to my brother.
He was talking to a contractor that he has dealt with over the past few years and the guy said to him that it was not often you saw men my brother's age still on the tools. My brother asked how old the guy thought he was and he replied "about fifty or thereabouts" and he was serious.
My brother finished the email with the question "Do I look fifty?".
I had a couple of feelings inside me when I read this. One was, I am ashamed to admit, great amusement. That's a bit awful of me I know but it was funny in its own special way. But I did not allow my amusement to show in the answer I gave to my brother.
I was very kind. I explained that fifty looks different to all people. I said that he did not look fifty to me, he just looked like my lovely brother. But one thing I did say is that lifestyle habits will ensure that we look older before our time and that we get to a point where we can make choices about how well we will age. Sun, stress, drink, diet, excess weight are the factors that can really age us when there is not a good balance. And it is one thing to look older but it is another to feel older because we have an unhealthy lifestyle.
I finished it off with something like "there's no getting away from it, we all get old".
When I read my brother's email out to my husband he was gleeful. All those years of my brother patronising him because he is so "oooollllddddd". Ah, so sweet the revenge.
I think he is going to really enjoy my brother's angst.
He'll be doing the "reverse ageist" thing.