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Monica Porter

How to tell if you’re young at heart

We all grow old but some of us are forever young at heart. That is a fine quality, and  not something you can easily fake.  There are certain tell-tale signs that you are indeed youthful in spirit, if slightly old in the tooth. Here is a list of some of them. So, how many of these giveaways apply to you?


  1. You still drive a sports car, even though you now groan when you heave yourself out of the low-slung seat, and your passengers do too. But who cares? It’s a little beauty. And you get a kick out of changing gears and revving the engine at red lights. The very thought of driving a boring hybrid makes you shudder.


  1. You watch Downton Abbey when you’re feeling soppy (or under the weather), but you know that Breaking Bad and The Wire are really where it’s at, and rave about them to your friends. You also quote your favourite badass expressions from the shows at any opportunity. For example, ‘this s**t’s the bomb, yo’ when praising a nice cup of tea someone just poured for you. And if someone tells you it’s cold outside, you might respond with: ‘true dat’.


  1. When babysitting for your grandkids, instead of practising their multiplication tables with them, you get them to memorise the words to Blue Suede Shoes and show them how to dance the Twist (because they should appreciate their cultural heritage). After all, they’ll master the maths sooner or later, and if they don’t, well, that’s why they have calculators on mobile phones.


  1. You think nothing of having a peanut butter sandwich and bowl of Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra for dinner because life is too short to fret about ‘square meals’. Yes, you know all about calories and how bad sugar is for you, but you’ve got to live a little, right? You’ll just have to work a bit harder next day at the gym.


  1. You relish yoof-speak, so when your son phones you, instead of ‘hello darling’, you say ‘wazzup dude?’ even though it makes him wince. If he tells you that phrases of that sort don’t suit a nice middle-aged mum, you might answer: ‘I hear you, bro. That’s on fleek.’ (When you admit you have no idea what that expression means but saw it online and liked the sound of it, your son might say he has to go and hastily hang up.)


  1. Your snooty book club has chosen a hefty historical tome by Hilary Mantel, but you cry off the assignment, feigning illness, because you’re too busy reading a saucy Jilly Cooper novel. After all, why should you have to wade through hundreds of pages of turgid Booker Prize fodder when you’ve already seen Wolf Hall on TV?


  1. You’ve got three pairs of sensible shoes in your wardrobe but they gather dust, unused, whilst your high-heeled leopard print ankle boots need frequent re-soling. The reason is simple. You are fully aware that what you wear on your feet has an effect not only on your overall appearance, but on how you feel inside. Now, do you want to feel like Nora Batty in Last of the Summer Wine, or Samantha Jones in Sex and the City? Hmm?


  1. You spend twice as much money on maintaining your youthful hairstyle as you do on your fuel bills. But hey, great hair doesn’t come cheap. The colour, the cut, the style, the good-quality hair care products – you get what you pay for. And when you leave the salon feeling like a princess (well, like a well-preserved dowager duchess, anyway) you know it’s worth every penny.


  1. Your heart quickens during Zac Efron’s shirtless scenes in Bad Neighbours, even though your own offspring are older than he is. (You do not share this with the family.) Look, in your heart you know it would be more appropriate to swoon over Hollywood stars of your own generation, silver foxes like Richard Gere, George Clooney and Pierce Brosnan. But come on, they are so past their best. They seriously need to keep their shirts on. Bring on the young studs with their ripped torsos!


  1. When A-ha’s Take on Me or ELO’s Mr Blue Sky comes on the car radio as you drive through town, you turn the volume up and roll your window down so everyone can partake of the joy. Even in winter. But it’s not just about generously sharing your groovy music with others. It’s also about declaring to the world at large that you still love the soundtrack to your youth and are proud to show it! By the way, this is done in conjunction with sporting a cool pair of shades. Obviously.


  1. When browsing in the clothing department at Marks and Spencer’s, you hurry past any racks being riffled through by staid-looking ‘older people’, as they can’t possibly hold anything of interest to you. You naturally gravitate towards the fashion lines aimed at younger, trendier customers. And if any of the aforementioned older types appear at your side, fingering the same garment as you, you flounce off in the direction of the nearest Hollister store.


  1. You message your friends and contacts on Whatsapp, telling any who don’t yet have it on their smartphones that plain old SMS texting is ‘so last century’. Whatsapp is cool, it’s free, you can even send photos and data for nothing, and you can put a carefully chosen profile picture of yourself on it which makes you look more glamorous than you actually are! What’s not to love?


  1. When your neighbours aren’t around you sunbathe in the nude, because it brings back blissful memories of your hippie days and the seminal Woodstock music festival of ’69 (even though you didn’t actually go to it). So you slather yourself all over with suntan lotion and luxuriate in the glorious rays, feeling liberated from the constraints of boring old society. Recommended background music to this activity: Jimi Hendrix. Recommended refreshment: hippie juice (watermelon vodka, coconut rum, triple sec, pink lemonade and strawberries). Optional: incense.


  1. You still flirt shamelessly when you meet someone fanciable at a party (as long as they seem equally taken with you, of course). And why not? It’s fun, it’s innocent. The subtle smile, the lingering look, the flick of the hair, the relaxed body language, the little light-hearted laugh…and was that a playful wink? Uh-oh, here comes the wife. Better move on.


  1. You find it impossible not to tap your feet, wiggle your hips, shake your shoulders, click your fingers and bob your head whenever you’re within earshot of dance music. If you actually got up to dance you’d be a bit rubbish, but why should that stop you ‘feeling the groove’?


  1. You still enjoy cocking a snook at authority. This is a baby boomer thing. A rebel to the marrow of your bones, you’ll always try to get the better of: pitiless parking wardens, other officious people wearing uniforms, and local authority jobsworths. And you generally do.


  1. You might be the wrong side of fifty, sixty, or even seventy, but you’re still up for trying new stuff. Bodyboarding? Playing the acoustic guitar? Bring it on. Bread-making? Playing Twister with the grandkids? No problem. Sky diving? Woo-hoo! That inextinguishable adventurous spark is the surest sign of the young at heart.