Frankie Says Relax…


música (Photo credit: hang the t-shirt)

Having been asked recently by my middle child whether I qualify as “elderly” and having reminded him that I hadn’t even reached middle age yet and that I had every intention of at least paying lip service to that stage of life, I got to thinking about what it is that I actually miss about being young. I have spent so much of the last few months angsting about turning 40 and all that being that age entails that I haven’t really thought about what it is I actually would like back from my late teens and twenties…

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – my face and body. You see I never appreciated what I had in those days – no wrinkles, the fresh face and the ability to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted without gaining a pound. I think Mother Nature has got it all wrong – we should have the body and face of a 40 plus woman in our twenties and then the process should reverse in our forties because then we would really appreciate it and look after it. As it is, we take it all for granted in our twenties – eat entire packets of Cadbury’s chocolate fingers in one sitting (which I can still do by the way), not take our make-up off for days in succession and exercise once a year – and then Mother Nature sticks two fingers up to us in our forties and presents us with what I now see every morning in the mirror and in the deafening silence when I walk past a building site.

Something I really miss about my teens/twenties is the feeling of immortality, invincibility. It was me against the world and I definitely had the upper hand. At that age, we throw caution to the wind, we take risks, we have adventures. Not so in your forties – throwing caution to the wind is having a take-away on a Friday evening, opening that second bottle of wine or perhaps dancing “gangnam style” with a whole load of similarly-aged, equally “reckless” people (well, at least, that’s what happened at my 40th). We are so much better at weighing up the risks in our forties and this can make it very difficult to be spontaneous or take chances. Although I did promise myself on my fortieth birthday, that I would take chances…perhaps this blog is my first steps?

In a funny way, I also miss the emotional highs and lows. Especially in your late teens, life is a rollercoaster (as Ronan Keating sang) and although those lows could be pretty damn low, that emotional lability did make you feel very alive. One minute you are totally and utterly in love, besotted and the next the object of your affections is a complete and utter b******! Through your thirties and beyond, cynicism creeps in and all that up and down becomes very tiring. Perhaps on reflection, this is not something I really miss – it really was very tiring indeed and I guess now I am much more emotionally stable (although I do recognise that this is relative and there are those out there who might not agree with my self-analysis!)

One of the things I miss the most is the music and the dancing. I still love listening to all the music that is in the charts now (god, I sound like I’m 140 rather than 40) and there is nothing more I like than an evening of drinking and dancing with my friends. However, I am acutely aware that I have probably, in my kids’ eyes, become a bit of an embarrassment on the dance floor (parents dancing – hideous!). I also really miss all those great tunes from the 80s and early 90s – there is nothing for me more evocative of my youth than when a huge 80s hit comes on the radio. Those tunes bring the memories flooding back and largely they are wonderful memories. My children may (and do) look on in utter horror when I shriek out “Ride on Time” but you know what, I don’t care!

Anyway, enough looking back and wishing…time for me to put a tape in my Walkman, put on my “Frankie says Relax” t-shirt and pour myself a cinzano and lemonade!


Back to the Future…

English: The logo for Apple Computer, now Appl...

English: The logo for Apple Computer, now Apple Inc.. The design of the logo started in 1977 designed by Rob Janoff with the rainbow color theme used until 1999 when Apple stopped using the rainbow color theme and used a few different color themes for the same design. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I’ve just had Spotify explained to me on the school run – I am, of course, none the wiser although I think I could probably bluff on the subject for about 30 seconds.  I thought I was keeping up quite well, I was giving myself an inner pat on the back when my “teacher” mentioned “streaming” and lost me…

I am finding this is happening increasingly – getting “lost” that is.  I like to think I am fairly up with technology but only yesterday I had to follow the “idiot” instructions from the “Apple automated voice” to find something as simple as the serial number on my non-functioning computer. I then had to follow somewhat complicated instructions from the “Apple human” in order to restore function to my computer and throughout this somewhat painful 30 minute experience, I was fully aware that he was speaking to me much as I speak to my 3 year old daughter.  Speaking slowly and in words rarely above 2 syllables, he talked me through the rebooting of my computer and I wanted to scream…I really wanted to scream….I am NOT STUPID, I am just not 16 any more, that’s all!   So I don’t really know what bytes are, what “streaming” is or what the finer points of the differences between iTunes and Spotify are but I do know lots of other things that I’m sure the “Apple human” doesn’t. Ok, so Latin and Ancient Greek may not be one of the most modern, progressive or even vocational degrees but I am not bad with roots of words and crosswords – so there, computer geeks!

I know that technology is a wonderful, wonderful thing and it has changed our world immeasurably and mainly for the good but I do sometimes wistfully wish that we could go back to the simpler times of my childhood.  A time when there was one BBC computer for the whole school (a large unwieldy machine treated with respect and awe by all); a time when we (illegally) taped songs from the top 40 on a Sunday evening to play on our tape recorders or walkmans; a time when we phoned our friends to ask things rather than text/email them; a time when there was only 3 TV channels and everyone watched “The Generation Game” on a Saturday evening; a time when going on holiday involved sitting on those high chairs at the “Thomas Cook” counter, flicking through holiday brochures and deciding on a holiday based on a couple of grainy photographs and a basic weather chart.

I am not whinging about how life has moved on – I am as addicted to my iPhone, iMac and iPad as much as the next person – look, here I am blogging for heaven’s sake – but in a rare moment of seriousness for me, I do worry that the next generation – my kids – are so technology-saavy, so attached to this device or that device, that they sometimes forget just to be humans, talk to each other and have a laugh together.  On that note, I am going to stop being the ultimate hypocrite, using technology, to criticise over-use of technology and get back to what I do best – procrastination!