I feel old at 32 and there’s nothing I can do about it

Andrew Papworth. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Andrew Papworth. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Throughout my life, I’ve always taken a sort of pride in feeling quite young.

I was the youngest reporter in the newsroom when I started my career aged 18. I was a young district chief reporter aged 21. I ran my own freelance operation when I was 24 and I was a weekly newspaper editor at 27.

Yet as much I hate to admit it, that feeling of youth is dying away. In fact, still only aged 32, I must confess that I’m beginning to feel quite old, with little I can do to stop it.

As I write that, I know it sounds quite ridiculous and possibly self-pitying. I can already hear older readers that scoffing that if I feel old now, wait until I get to 40, 50, 60 or older.

I guess the turning point for me was at 30, which brought home that I was no longer in that very young 20s bracket.

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I had the same sensation coming out of my teens – but I still had so much youth on my side I didn’t take too much notice.

I thought it’d be the same at 30 and that I’d just get on with it and worry about ageing later.

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But I soon noticed a spooky change – my first grey hairs.

I wondered if this might be years of stress in the newsroom taking its toll, although in fact most people start seeing their first grey hairs around that age.

The changes haven’t just been physical. Very recently my colleagues compared me to a real life Uncle Albert, regaling them with not very interesting stories about my time in journalism.

I’ve tried countering all of this by attempting to be more youthful than ever – going for longer runs, listening to cool music and once going out partying until about 1am (albeit without alcohol, as those who know me will know).

It wasn’t very successful. I was reaching for my favourite 90s bands within days and the extra exercise and partying just tired me out, even without the alcohol.

Now though I’ve realised – what does it matter? Age is just a number and there are many advantages to be just a little bit older and wiser.

I think I’ll celebrate with a night in and a glass a blackcurrant juice, listening to Blur and Oasis.

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