Are you getting Smart or Just getting Old?

Hey! Number 2 back and sides but scissors on the top

Hey! Number 2 back and sides but scissors on the top

Two Saturdays ago, fed up with my Ringo Starr impersonation, I decided to get a hair cut.  On a grey afternoon, the Barber at the Wooden Bridge in Dollymount was particularly busy.  I wasn’t in a hurry and sat happily reading the Red Tops  (there’s a lot of intrigue in Coronation Street at the moment) and listening to the football commentary on radio.  As the other punters were shorn, I edged to the top of the bench.

Great Chat: We chatted away happily about the World Cup in Qatar (playing in 400 centigrade can’t be much fun), the Barbers’ favourite team (Ipswich Town) and his babysitting arrangements for the evening. On a secret mission to improve my listening and to practice ‘unconditional positive regard’, I was congratulating myself on staying fully focused – despite the fact that I know absolutely nothing about soccer. Task completed, we walked over to the till and I asked:

“What’s the damage” to which he replied:

 “Ah well, you’re on the pension now. Just gimme €8”.

In a state of utter shock, I gave him a tenner and descended the stairs unsteadily, all the while muttering “stupid bo****ks”!

The Downsides:  When I got home, the kids thought it was hilarious and slagged me mercilessly (those who live by the sword and all that).  Linda used the moment to remind me of some  forgotten New Year resolutions. Yeh! Kick a man when he’s down.  If she keeps it up I’m going to hide her anti-aging cream.

The Upsides:  I did save about €5. But here’s the bonus. I am getting old and it’s great (I’m 56). Why? Because I’m not as impulsive as I used to be.  I’ve also stopped trying to impress people (most of the time) which is a ton of relief. Being focused on other people means that you don’t have to ‘top’ their stories with ‘better’ war stories of your own which gets tiring! And, without sounding too arrogant, the sweetest part of it all is that I kind of like this older version of myself.  This “I’m OK” admission (the stuff by psychologist Dr Eric Beirne’s is worth reading) has taken some time.  Closer to home, William Butler Yeats captured this well in the memorable phrase: “Peace comes dropping slow”.

So if you see a stout, slightly balding guy walking along the Clontarf seafront, openly laughing, just pop over and say hello.  Because, in the scale of world tragedies, there are worse things in life than getting old – even if it’s not easy to be rudely reminded of it.

By the way, the Barber told me he’s normally quieter in the mornings. Might help you avoid the rush when you’re booking your next appointment.


PS: I see that Ipswich Town were beaten 3-2 by Preston in their recent match.  That’s a pity!

PPS Lighter Note: Guy goes into a bar and orders a pint of Guinness. Barman says: “It’s on the house. Bloke down there bought it for you”. The customer asks: “Which Guy?” and the barman replies: “Guy down there at the end of the bar, the one with the beard. Says he was in your class”. Customer replies: “There was no-guy with a beard in my class”.

Check our website or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organisation development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
This entry was posted in Positive Psychology. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Are you getting Smart or Just getting Old?

  1. I’m 56 too, Paul, and can totally relate. There is so much upside: not having to worry about looking good is the main one (comfortable in your own skin etc.): saves you a fortune on clothes, haircuts, cars…..That 2 stone your wife has been nagging you to shift for years becomes a part of you that it would be a shame to lose.

    Glad to hear you too have saved yourself several man-years by not wasting time watching football.

  2. L mc Givern says:

    All this time I’ve known you and I thought you were older than me.OOOP’S

  3. midwifesean says:

    Although I am a tad younger than your good self and perhaps more economical in my unconditional positive regard , I have experienced one of those awakening moments of frank stranger opinion that left stuck for words . A chinese takeaway delivery man dropping off our weekly MSG indulgence complimented my little blonde haired son , asking if he was my Grandson . You What . Me , a granda , do I look like a granda . Of course I fool no one but myself . You know you’re getting on when you could have delivered the women who are now in labour
    I look in the mirror and what do I see , a strange looking person who cannot be me . For I am much younger and not nearly so fat as the face in the mirror that I’m looking at.

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