Grumpy old man

I have become a grumpy old man. How can I get back to being the thigh slapping, fun guy I used to be?

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I used to be a happy-go-lucky person that laughed a lot. Now I’ve become a grumpy old man, and I’m actually only middle aged. I find myself ranting about everything – politicians, TV, people and life in general. Friends who used to hang around with me and found me funny now roll their eyes when I start to talk. And that’s on Zoom. I worry that post-lockdown I’ll still be alone in a room reading the Racing Post and shouting at the TV. How can I become fun again?

Ask Marvin
Ask for advice and don’t ignore me.

Marvin’s Answer:

I presume those thighs you were slapping were your own? Obviously, slapping someone else’s thighs, or poking them in odd places can be fun, but not everyone wants your hands all over them.

And maybe therein lies your problem. You’ve reached an age where people look on you as eccentric or even creepy when you try to do those things. Before you were risky, exciting and dangerous. Add some grey hair, a beer belly and dodgy fashion sense like a velvet jacket and suddenly you’re a weirdo.

I have become a grumpy old man. How can I get back to being the thigh slapping, fun guy I used to be? 1

I know. It’s something I struggle with. I rant at the way all headlines start with “Shocking News!”, how statistics are manipulated to create a story, and how every BBC interview degenerates into a “confess to a mistake” interrogation. I moan about not getting enough sleep, my aches and pains and the youth of today.

The science behind becoming a grumpy old man

However getting older is a process of change, and there is some science behind your increased grumpiness. As men age they actually experience a slow and continuous decrease in testosterone production. A lot else is also going south, but it’s the testosterone that causes the problem.

This is completely normal – yet for some men, the decrease is particularly steep. An NBC News report quoted Dr. Ridwan Shabsigh as saying that low testosterone can have “psycho effects,” and one of those is “low mood and irritability.” It makes you an angry man. Truly.

photo of man leaning on wooden table

Therefore it may not be the middle aged spread, regrets, grey hair and aches that’s causing the problem. Ignore the fact you’re pleased with slippers for your birthday. Blame the testosterone.

So there’s no point sitting at home stewing in the cesspit of your own thoughts. Being a grumpy old man about people, things and what’s gone before will only create a cycle of grumpiness. You need to let go of all those negative thoughts and find something to look forward to, something you can really focus on achieving (as long as it’s remotely possible).

There’s no need to stop dancing, but maybe you need to slow down from being a twisted fire-starter to something altogether more gentle. Staying up late doesn’t need to be until dawn. Drinking can be toned down to include mixers.

It doesn’t matter you might never get there with your new dancing rhythms. It’s not about endpoints. It’s about enjoying the moment.

Find something or someone or some people to do something you enjoy. From simply making a cup of tea, wistfully watching the world go by, cycling in lycra or holidays in exotic locations, there’s plenty that could make you happy.

Grumpy middle age
Would riding a bike bike make you happier?

As my Mum says, in your head you can be as young as you want to be and as happy as you need to be. Trust me, she knows best. Well apart from on Brexit. Oh and about new fangled technology. But on some things she’s sometimes right. This is one of those.

Try not to be a grumpy old man. For a start, you’re not old.


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