I forget who it was who said reality is that which, when you stop believing it, is still there.

Ageing is kind of like that.

I never thought about it. Well, except when I was a kid wanting to grow up. Being old (by which I meant 18) was the answer to all the problems I thought I was having because then and only then could I be master of my own fate.

But you’re asking about age, not wisdom. Right?

In my late teens and twenties, ageing was a weird distant concept. Then thirties hit, along with marriage and kids. And boy, nothing like three babies inside of four years to make you feel old in one big hurry.

Suddenly you’re tired all the time, cranky too, and the simple act of eating clean food in reasonable quantities makes you gain weight that won’t come off no matter how many burpees you do.

Sigh.

Then your forties come and sure enough, perimenopause, that insufferable bitch, hits you. She doesn’t pull punches either.

You want to sleep all the time except in bed at night. You jealously keep all the food you eat right there on your hips. You occasionally (a word here that means “at the most inconvenient times”) erupt into a volcano of sweaty mood swings. Add wrinkles, grey hair and loose belly skin for a complete ensemble of wretched misery.

Remember to smile!

You’re active physically - you jog, you swim, you bike, do pilates, that HIIT thing, martial arts, count your steps, etc. - and do all the right things and yet your ability to crank out pushups diminishes in inverse proportion to the creaking in your joints dammit.

You keep going anyway because the big lesson to remember about ageing is 1) it won’t stop so better get used to it; 2) it doesn’t care one tiny bit how you feel; but most importantly 3) it beats the alternative.