If my eye bags get much worse, I’ll have to tackle them with haemorrhoid cream

EVERY night for the past week I have woken in the wee small hours. What is jolting me abruptly from the land of nod?

Well, it’s not the hoot of an owl from the skinny woods over the back wall. Nor the trundle of an occasional passing car. My brain is its usual constant hum of white noise (when is it not?), although that doesn’t seem to be the root of the problem either.

Nope, the issue is I am being roused by a dull pain in my back. I have tried flipping the mattress and while that helped a bit, truth be told, it wasn’t the grand solution I had hoped it might be.

Which means that, as you read this, I will likely be perusing furniture stores and doing my best impersonation of The Princess and the Pea as I seek to find a replacement. If my eye bags from lack of sleep get much worse, I’ll have to tackle them with haemorrhoid cream.

But what if it’s not the mattress? What if, gasp, this is my weary joints sounding the first klaxon that marks the downward slope into age-related aches and pains?

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick’s Week: Christmas ‘cancelled’ due to food shortages? It is time we got a grip

This week I have already felt ancient in unexpected ways. News that ABBA are back in business had me doing some shoogly arithmetic. I bought ABBA Gold when it was released in 1992 to mark the band’s 20th anniversary. Next year will be 50 years since ABBA were founded. Wait, what?

On a video call, my colleague Elle mentioned she was in the midst of moving house to a new abode closer to Glasgow city centre.

As she chatted about looking forward to being at the heart of everything, I felt a momentary pang of nostalgia remembering how I spent my twenties living in Finnieston (before it got trendy, alas) – a location chosen for its proximity to the city buzz.

HeraldScotland: Mattress woes and getting older. Picture: Alamy/PAMattress woes and getting older. Picture: Alamy/PA

When I moved further east to Dennistoun in my early thirties (also before it got trendy, alas), I wept as we followed the removal van past Glasgow Royal Infirmary towards my new flat. A whole 2.3 miles from the city centre, it felt like the sticks.

Now in my forties, I truly do live in the sticks. A no man’s land between two Lanarkshire towns. It is an area my colleague Teddy would poetically refer to as “edgelands”, a crossroads where the remnants of former industry and a thin stretch of green belt meet.

I love living here surrounded by trees and wildlife. But, what with the mattress debacle and the ABBA maths calculations, I suddenly feel a long way from the 23-year-old who rocked up in Glasgow to seek her fortune in the newspaper game.

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick’s Week: A nostalgic hankering for the Yellow Pages and analogue days 

Then I give myself a shake. Getting older isn’t all bad. The many trappings of middle age include a devil-may-care attitude to scone consumption, no longer feeling shame at elasticated waistbands and being able to start sentences with “In the old days …”. There is still plenty to look forward to.

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The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992