RICHARD ORD: Still struggling to find 50 reasons to be cheerful

Richard's friend jar.
Richard's friend jar.
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After a couple of weeks off, I’ve decided to return to the task in hand: compiling 50 Reasons to be Cheerful at 50.

At aged 18, I could have probably knocked out ‘132 reasons to be cheerful at 18’ in about a day.

(If I could have fitted it in between chasing girls, playing sports, drinking beer, dancing and generally enjoying every minute of my elastic skin and shiny eyes, that is.)

A month after turning 50 and the list of reasons to be cheerful stands at three. And even that was a struggle.

For the record, the three are:

1. At least you’re not 60.

2. 50 is the new 42 (source: Researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis)

3. You have the optimum number of friends and acquaintances.

The last one is loosely based on the deluge of Christmas cards received (and sent) which I touched upon last week. With Christmas cards I wonder if in years to come we’ll shake our heads and laugh at the lunacy of sending them. Or in years to come will we just shake our heads and laugh until the nurse guides us back to the commode. Hey, maybe we’ll do both.

Cardboard is, after all, an increasingly a valuable commodity. I mean, it has its own bin in Whitley Bay.

The recycling bin. Or, as I like to call it, the Alcoholic Alert. Every other Tuesday you can hear the family with the drink problem drag their bin out. The pile of bottles tinkle a tune as merry as their owners.

There’s not much cardboard in their bin. Sometimes they end up in the bin, but never cardboard. Though it is a valuable resource.

To think we decorate a big squares of cardboard, fold them in half and then send dozens of them to our friends with barely half a dozen words written inside is bizarre to say the least.

At aged 50, I reckon you have the optimum number of friends, relatives and acquaintances. About three doors’ worth.

That is the measure. Nothing says Christmas more than a door filled with cards Blu Tacked to the back of it.

Except maybe the joy of untangling Christmas tree lights or trying find the end of the Sellotape roll when wrapping presents. Joy to the world.

They say that if you put a stone in a jar for every friend you make up to the age of 30 and take one out for every friend you make after that, the jar will never be empty.

That’s because when you’re young and energetic, you have an open mind and heart, and make friends quickly.

As you get older, you become more guarded and careful who you let in so you make fewer friends.

And, of course, there aren’t many people who want to be mates with that bloke with the weird ‘friend jar.’

l For the sake of Richard Ord’s sanity, please help him complete his 50 Reasons to be Cheerful at 50 by emailing your suggestions or writing to the usual address, on recycled cardboard, naturally.