There’s nothing like the rolling in of a New Year to remind you that you’re not getting any younger. Not that I needed an extra reminder. These days, it seems everybody knows my age. Every time I have to enter my date of birth online, I can imagine a queue of companies waiting with bated breath to grab the information for their next targeted marketing campaign. The junk mail I receive, whether by email, social media or snail mail, is ageing with me.
The latest missive to arrive on my doorstep was a copy of Arthritis News with a picture of a smiley Bob Champion on the cover, and a catalogue of essential items such as a long handled extendable toe and foot cleaner.
Now I know many people suffer from arthritis, I can only imagine how awful it is, and they may have found this catalogue very useful. It’s not so much the individual mailshots I object to, but the ongoing daily onslaught of multiple products for the increasingly feeble. I don’t want to be constantly confronted by a photo of a chirpy old lady gliding effortlessly up the stairs in her shiny new stairlift, or stepping out of her specially adapted bath-with-a-side-entrance. I can manage perfectly well without the funeral payment plans, so my family don’t have to worry when I pop my clogs. Or the life insurance proposals exclusively for those of us who have tipped over a certain age: “Yes, it’s true, we know exactly how ancient you are, and we are STILL prepared to sell you life cover”. And no, I don’t want to wear a pair of those comfy but hideous shoes, no matter how comfy they are.
If this hasn’t started to happen to you yet, don’t get smug. It kicks in around 40. Whenever you pass an age milestone, it’s open season for any suppliers jostling for what’s known as the ‘silver pound’. And it’s completely random. Their reasoning is, at your age you must have SOMETHING wrong with you and if they send you enough stuff about enough ailments, something will eventually hit the mark and get you to reach for your credit card.
But I am very happy to say that the horse world, in contrast, seems to me to be blissfully free of ageism. The kit – jodphurs, jackets, boots, hats, gloves – is the same for everyone. A horse is completely indifferent to your age. You are free to keep riding for as long as you feel able to do so, and nobody treats you any differently. Just look at The Queen, still hacking out in her nineties! #lifegoals.
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It’s probably only a matter of time before somebody spots a marketing opportunity. How about a hydraulic mounting block that raises you gently up to the level where you can hop on board without stretching. Or a four wheel drive zimmer frame with hooks for buckets and haynets….
In the meantime, I now routinely lie about my age online, and I am hoping this will eventually filter through to the junk mail I receive. When I am given a drop down box to select the year of my birth I tend to stop somewhere in the mid to late 1980s. It’s such a long way down to the actual year, at my age it would be far too exhausting to scroll all that way anyway.
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