My free bus pass arrived in the post last week. I’m sitting looking at it now and wondering how this came to be.
Not the arrival of my bus pass (or National Entitlement Card, to give it its Sunday name). After all, I was the one who sent away for it.
No, it’s the arrival of my 60th birthday that has me perplexed. How can I be 60?
Yes, I know, it’s the number of times the earth has been round the sun since I sprung, Zeus-like, into the world. But, c’mon… 60 is fair knocking on a bit, isn’t it?
In my head I am still very firmly 15
It’s not even as if I can console myself with a trite “60 is the new 40”. No, it isn’t. It’s 60.
I have, obviously, had a few of these “big” birthdays in my time and they’ve all come and gone without troubling me in the slightest. My 50th was a hoot. This one, though, feels different.
I’ve reached the age where newspaper reports would once have called me ‘elderly’
That’s a whole new demographic I’m in – a bit further down the already lengthy scroll button to put in my date of birth. I’ve reached the age where newspaper reports would once have called me “elderly”.
Yet, in my head, I am still very firmly 15 years old. I think fart jokes are hilarious.
And, physically, I’m fine. We shan’t mention the odd involuntary noise emitted when I get up, or the fact the speakers on my telly are clearly failing and need to be turned up higher than before.
But I can still run a 10k. Well, I could run a 10k if I were still running. Which is something I need to sort out – can we get some post-Covid races on the go for a bit of incentive, please?
No need for a ‘how to work the internet’ lesson
Yet here I am, now definitely with more years behind me than ahead of me. It’s the first milestone birthday where I have truly thought that. Although, given the Begbie gene’s track record on longevity, my notion at 50 of reaching 100 might have been a tad ambitious.
I think it was the bus pass that led me to the realisation I really am putting a fair bit of mileage on the clock. To be exact, it was the application for it.
Aberdeenshire Council has the form online, but I couldn’t see any way to edit and submit it. Which meant I would have to print it out, fill it in, scan it and email it. Surely not?
It was my first hint that holding a bus pass for the 60-plus age group might make some folk think you’re actually an old codger
So, I phoned the help line and spoke to a lovely lady – once we got past the idea I was actually tech savvy and not looking for a “how to work the internet” explainer.
It was my first hint that holding a bus pass for the 60-plus age group might make some folk think you’re actually an old codger. No doubt many more are waiting in the wings.
But I would like to thank the helpline operator. She was the one who drove home the message that age really is a state of mind. You can’t stop getting older, but it doesn’t mean you have to grow old.
So, I will merrily continue to be stay fit and active, maintain my elegant wit and erudition, run long distances like a man half my age and guffaw when anyone farts. Even if it is me doing it involuntarily.
Scott Begbie is entertainment editor for The Press & Journal and Evening Express