The 50 signs of ageing: Take the test

Tuning in to watch surprise finds on the Antiques Roadshow can go a long away to showing whether you

Tuning in to watch surprise finds on the Antiques Roadshow can go a long away to showing whether you are ageing or not, a new survey by Engage Mutual suggests. - Credit: Matthew Usher

New research from Engage Mutual has pinpointed the 50 signs that show you're getting older. From forgetting people's names to listening to The Archers, feeding the birds to listening to Radio 2 and enjoying crosswords, Stacia Briggs discovers the telltale signs of ageing – and takes the test.

Stumbling into work with blocked sinuses, after a terrible night's sleep and with a to-do list so long it made my teeth itch I felt about 30 years older than the date on my birth certificate.

And then I took the new 50 Signs of Ageing test and felt like the springiest of spring chickens: from the list of telltale signs that one is slipping into decrepitude, I can only lay claim to five.

By my reckoning, that makes me 10pc ancient and 90pc young, which is the kind of delusion that in itself probably shows that I've totally lost it, if I ever had it in the first place.

My children, who are 15 and 12, are regularly treated to 'in my day' lectures which generally involve a degree of bragging about how hard I worked, how academically diligent I was and how 'there was an actual, physical lock on the telephone'.

I definitely complain about things more than I ever have, although in my defence if you can find a weekly columnist that doesn't, you've found a pretty useless weekly columnist.

In particular, I complain about what's on TV, but again, I have a column dedicated to just that every Friday in the EDP and I defy anyone to watch The Wright Way on BBC1 and not be righteously, fulsomely furious.

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The remaining ticks on the list involve remembering Opal Fruits, although the name change to Starburst was in 1998 so hardly qualifies me for a walking frame, and I take a flask to my caravan because it's almost as old as I am (42) and boasts no electricity or gas.

The remaining signs of ageing are a foreign country to me.

I have always spent too much on face cream because I am horribly vain about my skin, my house boasts more computers, tablets and televisions than an electrical showroom, I've never listened to The Archers and crosswords and puzzles bore me senseless.

I only feel stiff after a painful 20-mile session on my exercise bike, I shed hair like a Newfoundland dog after a bath in depilatory cream but still appear to have acres of the stuff (and not in my ears), I would rather suffer in agony than wear sensible clothes or shoes and I know precisely what young people are talking about because I own two and they never shut up.

I despise people who drive too slowly. I would rather watch paint dry than tune in to Antiques Roadshow.

My interest in gardening is akin to my interest in theoretical maths (zero). I don't own any slippers. I can only sleep in the afternoon if I am utterly drunk – which takes far more than one glass of wine and definitely not sherry, which I don't think I've even so much as tried.

I find people who go on 'no-children' holidays slightly sinister just as I find people who 'say it how it is' completely obnoxious – white lies exist because they are the glue that holds society together.

I am the family packhorse that lifts heavy objects, I know Daft Punk are in the top 10, I only ever drink tea if someone else makes it for me.

In short, I am useless at getting older. And long may it last. I called my mum (72) and asked her to take the test and she scored a far more states(wo)manlike 34 out of 50. 'All this will come to you,' she told me, 'although I can't ever see you driving slowly. Sadly.'

My colleague Steve Downes, who, by his own admission, is old before his time while in reality is three years my junior, also took the test and proudly scored 24 out of 50.

'Life begins at 40? I'm 39, and I'm already over the hill. I ache and creak at every turn, and feel it is my parental responsibility to complain about tuneless modern music, incomprehensible teen speak and terrible television,' said Mr Downes.

'When I have a haircut, the barber trims inside my ears first. I am a proud young fogey. And if you don't like it, I'll get one of those young Bobbies to feel your collar – even though they aren't old enough to shave.'

• To take the 50 Signs of Ageing test go to or click the link at the top-right of this page