I don’t know how many of you remember British comic, Harry Enfield’s character ‘Kevin, The Teenager’, but the old man appears to be metamorphosing daily into the middle-aged version.
It seems that although we gain some invaluable wisdom with the ageing process, there is a danger of regressing to the petulant obstinacy of a teenager at the same time.
Some days it feels as though the old man is less mature than our eighteen-year old, Kurt.
I’m generalizing obviously, but it is a known fact that men veer dangerously close to the territory of ‘Grumpy Old Man’ in middle age. For some reason, they appear to be at their happiest when allowed to isolate themselves – preferably with nothing more to do in life than watch Fox Sports, complain about nothing and embrace the end of life in all its misery.
And while women feel destitute without the company of close friends to talk to, men celebrate the fact that they don’t have any friends, refuse to improve themselves, (or in fact do anything very much with the rest of their lives), and given the choice would migrate hermit-style to a gated community with golf course, unable to be reached except in dire emergency.
Generalizing again, but women seem more positive about the opportunities that middle age affords them and are more drawn to celebrating whatever time they have left. They may make the bold move from suburbia to the city that they always dreamed about, take up new hobbies denied them in the past, explore new cultures, travel and build new friendships.
They have even been known to separate from those grumpy old men that have pulled them down for years.
It feels like every decision is an obstacle with the old man these days. I dread the times I have to surprise him with plans he hasn’t had months to prepare for, I am forced to hide healthy foods he doesn’t like in other foods, I have to hoodwink him into events I know he would never agree to do if he knew the truth.
Like a teenager, he has an unshakeable opinion about everything and rebels against authority, or indeed any boundaries imposed on him by myself if they mean that he can’t do (or not do) what the fuck he wants, due to his responsibilities of being one half of a partnership, a father and supposedly, a fucking adult.
He now resents my input into his wardrobe, what he eats and even my opinion on whether he needs a jumper when he leaves the house – something he used to depend on me for. He accuses me of disempowering him, yet it still takes him twice as long as me to get out of the house and invariably he will forget something.
He stamps his feet, swears at me and sulks when we lock heads and I go through the conciliatory motions like I have done with our own teenagers over the last few years until he is calm enough to rationalise that it’s just not worth it.
Is your partner turning into a grumpy old man?