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Giving up nothing... and do I look bothered?

PUBLISHED: 13:45 07 January 2019

Nope - I'm not doing happy old people exercise. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Nope - I'm not doing happy old people exercise. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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I considered a resolution but am resolved not to bother

Let’s think... what shall I not adopt as a new year’s resolution in 2019?

I know, I shall not give up anything I like or take up doing anything I dislike. Thus, I shall not diet, especially if dieting involves being in a club and carrying around a little calorie “bible”, even though I know I have to lose weight (my hips have grown hips). I don’t need a book to tell me what’s good (healthwise) to eat and what’s not. Nor am I going vegan for January − even though Greggs new vegan sausage roll comes highly recommended. Nor am I going to give up alcohol as my usual three to four units over the course of a week (excluding the festive season) are not an enormous threat to walking in a straight line.

I shall, therefore, continue to be a little bit smug and eat chocolate. My advancing years have imbued me with the wisdom to know that a little of what you fancy does you good. Tempus fugit and it seems to fugit more quickly every year. Why, when 12 months seems to last only half the time it did when I was a teenager, should I deprive myself of small pleasures?

Lifestyle changes (as recommended by all newspaper supplements, magazines and online algorithms everywhere, all the time) are for the young (ie people in their 50s). Start now, they entreat us, and stay well in older age. I have yet to see the one that suggests starting from scratch in older age... at least, not without a note from your doctor.

If I am going to enjoy being a robust pensioner - always assuming I ever reach pensionable age, bearing in mind governments seem to consider it a jolly wheeze to keep moving the goalposts - I must be sensible and listen to what my body is trying to tell me.

When my mind is saying: “I need a Big Mac Go Large Extra Whopper Meal with extra fat 
and a chocolate milk shake, my body is saying: “You don’t want that, Lynne. You want a brisk walk and a glass of water.” It’s just that my body isn’t talking loudly enough.

In my life revision (the best way to beat yourself up) I should have been more active in my teens, twenties and thirties. The trouble is, I hated PE at school − except for tennis. The outdoor pool was too cold, the hockey ball was too hard, netball was too rough and gym sessions required you to climb ropes. I could never climb ropes. I did play a bit of tennis at university but mostly I sat in the subterranean green rooms of the Students’ Union theatre and smoked Players no 6 and ate burgers from the café. They seemed like the ambrosia of the gods at the time (1973) but they came out of a tin and were thin and greasy. I imagine their nutritional value was around minus 20. But I was an undergraduate and it all fitted in nicely with my sense of being a typical student.

In three years of college, I’m not sure we ever had a lettuce in the house.

After I married, I tried to do the good wife thing and cook wholesome food - it soon wore off.

Now I look back and realise I missed all those chances to become a lean, clean-living, paragon of healthy virtues. Instead of that, I enjoyed myself.

I am hoping I haven’t piled up too many problems (I don’t currently have piles, by the way - one of the few things I don’t have) because tempus fugitting presents a lot of challenges such as getting up from the floor, getting out of the car in an elegant manner, reading small print with glasses on... and glasses off, finding shoes that accommodate bunions, having to put my foot on a chair to get my sock on, spending a small fortune at the supermarket but failing to buy the one thing I urgently needed, not being able to bite my nails because my teeth have shifted out of alignment, losing my eyebrows as a result of over-plucking when I was younger, creaky elbows, nor being adept at messaging on a mobile phone (young people use their thumbs, how do they do that?), waking up at 2am with no creative urge and so on.

At such times, one should count one’s blessings, I’m told but they really aren’t such fun, are they?

• Thanks to Pat, in Leiston, who wondered if the “parnsips” and “bandy butter” I mentioned in my Christmas itinerary were a result of drinking the sherry I mentioned in the article. Yes, Pat. It was the sherry... and maybe the port, or the snowball, possibly the prosecco, or perhaps the mulled wine. I rather like the idea of bandy butter - a goat with convex legs?

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