As I drive into work I listen to the Today
programme. This morning there was an item concerning a recent government initiative
to get the over 50s to reduce their alcohol consumption. The government has
suggested we cut down to one unit a day.

Opposing the government’s view was Emma
Soames, the editor of Saga Magazine. For those of you who have not heard of
Saga, it is an organisation that helps old folks cope with their twilight

I think Emma said something like this. ‘People’s
horizons narrow as they get older. Eating and drinking are one of the few
pleasures left to them.’ She then went on to say that going down the pub was
the only pleasure that many of us could hope for as we get older.

Sorry, but I disagree Emma. And, shit I
never thought I’d hear myself say this, I agree with the government. In fact
I’d go further.

Why not give up drinking altogether? Give
up smoking dope too. And give up everything else that has turned you into a sedentary,
broken creature. Including reading Saga magazine.

As Karl Jung believed (see today’s article
in high50’s health and wellbeing section) and I paraphrase ‘you can either
carry on on automatic pilot or live life to the full.’

At high50 we don’t think your life need ‘narrow’
as you get older. Our view would be totally to the contrary. Time, as you grow
older, becomes increasingly precious. Now is the time to broaden your
existence, not narrow it.

So get out there. Go and see a brilliant
movies. Get tickets for the Hop Farm festival. Buy some stylish clothes. Think something interesting. Embrace
technology. Reboot your relationships with your family. Chase down some long
lost friends. Get a facelift. Don’t get a facelift. Run off with your personal
trainer. Celebrate your amazing thirty year marriage with a trip round the
world. Drive through Paris in a sports car. Try Viagra. (Whether you’re a woman
or a man.) Write a book. Write a blog. Resign from your job. Start a business. Become
a jewellery designer. Customise a motorbike. Learn to meditate. Make peace with
your enemies. Live every day as though it is your last.

And if you must go down the pub for your
one unit a day, buy the and turn it into a table dancing club. Or a gastro pub if you must. 

  • Peter Mabbott

    Patronising tosh.

  • robert campbell

    Hi Peter. I’m not quite clear what you mean by ‘patronising tosh.’ I hope you haven’t had more than your one unit today….

  • Tony Roberts

    How refreshing, I’m a bit of an old boozer myself. I was certainly becoming more narrow minded too, in fact my first thought on a Friday night used to be ” Where’s the bottle opener!” I once spent a year off the booze because I found myself causing all kinds of havoc whilst drinking, it almost cost me my marriage. In that year on the wagon I did more with my kids, more for my wife, reconnected with my extended family and took up Golf. I watched my son in concert with the Greenwich Youth Band and also went along to gigs to watch his band “Viagravation”. I took my daughter to her first date and picked her up afterwards (something I wouldn’t have done had I chose to sit down with a bottle of wine that evening).
    I am drinking again now but choose not to let it get in the way of family or friends, I wont let it dictate that I sit on the sofa with a bottle of wine watching tosh on the TV. I most certainly wont allow it to slowly anaesthetise my coming years. I’m going to go into my fifties kicking and biting just as I went into my teens. The old adage is “Everything in moderation” not one unit a day or give up what you enjoy.
    See you down the pub, mines a 2.8 unit pint of Peroni

  • Lady Penelope

    What’s actually patronising tosh is Emma Soames’ assertion that the only thing over 50s are good for is getting hammered in their local. The average 50 year old has another 40% of their life to live. The idea that they will spend it muttering into a pint glass is utter nonsense!

    • Dan Smith

      Yes Me Lady.

  • Sue Turner

    Robert. I go to see stuff. I buy stuff. I run my arse off (pun intended). I have long since embraced technology. I have written a book. And I’ve had my upper and lower eye bags done (Harley Street, natch). But I also enjoy chardonnay. Alone and certainly with others…and until the day they stuff me in the furnace that’s the way it’s going to stay.

  • Chris Worsley

    Where can I get Beta blockers so I don’t have to read such smug tosh? You sound like the equivalent of an annoying drunk in a bar – one who has given up the bottle.

    Living life to the full is not mutually exclusive with having a drink, far from it.

  • Sue Turner

    Chris has a point, Robert. You sound like you’ve just got a new life coach, or the people at Alpha have joined you up. By the way. I’ve never read Saga. I’d rather be buried alive with sticks in my eyes. And how do you know that we don’t live each day as if it were the last? Generalisations abound. You never know anyone’s story until they choose to tell you.

  • Simon S. Kershaw

    Here we go… “oldies” are either a) lonely and disfunctional, or b) “Granny on a Harley”. Pick your cliche. Oh, you have…

  • Susan Imgrund

    Sometimes I think the only area where targeting by age works is kid’s clothes, and even then there are exceptions.

  • Sue Turner

    For an organisation that’s launching stuff to counter the old views about age, you seem to have a great skill for dshing out the same old, Robert.

  • robert campbell

    Hey Sue. Thanks for your comments….I assume you’ve been to high50…what was it that you found so ‘same old.’
    Interested to hear your views….R

  • robert campbell

    Mr Worsley….You contradict yourself….you can’t ‘be drunk’ and have ‘given up the bottle’ simultaneously. No need for (Beta) blockers. Just don’t log on in the first place.

  • robert campbell

    Simon – I hardly thing suggesting that women try Viagra is a cliche! Notwithstanding, thanks for you comments. Would love to hear a little more about what you think we should do on high50..

  • Christmas Clarke


  • Christmas Clarke

    Try writing about black people the way you write about old folks and see how fast your ass gets kicked good and hard. What planet are you on and in what century. Unbelievable.

  • Neil Frederick

    Mr Campbell. The first line of yourblog states that you listen to the Today programme as you drive to work. This would appear to be the first inaccuaracy of your piece. The fact is if you were listening you would have heard that the government initiative is to get the over 65’s to reduce their alcohol consumption to one unit per day not the over 50’s. That’s the other inaccuracy. If you are going spend your time writing and waste my valuable time reading your output can you at least do us all the decency of getting it right in future dear boy? many thanks.

  • Chris Worsley

    Mr Campbell: please note the use of the word ‘equivalent’ in my last post. I see you only refer to me by my surname unlike Sue or Simon. Are you being patronising again, or have you been drinking?

  • Sue Turner

    Robert, the same old I’m talking about is the litany of assumptions listed within this blog. If one took a straw-poll I bet that many would have already done most of what you suggest. (Possibly without the eye surgery in my case.) You should know better. We are, give or take a few years, the same age. Simon was onto something by saying why must everything be ‘in extremis’? I am as happy watching Corrie with a cuppa; watching Dr Who with my nephews; or running for 25 miles up and down dale, as I am knocking back a couple of bottles with mates/students. We’re the cross-generation – we do it all – now and then. Even your elasticated-waisted different 50-something has his or her ‘otherness’. And I repeat – generalisations are for idiots.

  • Dan Smith

    No the SaGa woman is right.  Once you get past 40 your best is behind you; get the grog, get the food in and PARTY!

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