I know I’ve alluded to my age in previous columns but I’ll admit that I reached the big 5-0 this year.
I can’t say this milestone sent me into any great bouts of life reflection or panics that I’m now heading down the other side of the mountain.
Instead, I personally found it cause for celebration - a sober one you’ll be pleased to hear - as I’d reached another birthday without alcohol being the most important thing in my life.
What I did notice was that 50 seems to be the trigger point for ‘messages’ about ageing, middle-age and predominantly how much I should be embracing this new decade and the ‘journey’ that got me here.
Well I’d rather not think about some of the past quite frankly, in fact a lot of it is pretty much a drunken blur well worth forgetting!
I prefer to look forward and not waste time putting any amount of significance on turning 50.
So I was quite surprised when Sheffield Alcohol Support Service, the charity I volunteer for, asked me to get involved in an ‘over 50s’ project, called Drink Wise Age Well.
I’ve always really respected the charity for not patronising people or re-affirming stereotypes but here they were with another initiative aimed at ‘oldies’ who they thought needed telling how to look after themselves.
As sceptical as I was, I’m happy to report I was entirely wrong.
As someone who spent their youth perfecting their addiction, I’d never really thought that people could develop alcohol problems later in life.
But apparently, us over 50s can be more susceptible to risky drinking due to our own habits (wine with lunch), circumstances (bereavement, retirement, divorce) or as our body ages (liver processing slowing down).
Drink Wise Age Well isn’t just about avoiding becoming an addict like me, but understanding a bit more about how your drinking habits can impact on your health, mood and resilience - think fun ways of understanding drink rather than the ‘nanny state’, ‘just say no’ approach.
As you can probably tell, I attended one of their community workshops on the subject!
Well I’m off to age gracefully and practice being a wheeler dealer by selling some antiques, all part of the projects over 50’s activities.
There are 12 workshops in Sheffield so if you’re over 50 and fancy getting involved call Drink Wise Age Well on 0800 032 3723.
I might see you there.