diamond geezer

 Friday, March 09, 2012

I used to think 47 was ancient.

But then I used to think 10 was old. Double figures! Some of the tallest children in the playground were 10, and they seemed so much older than me. I was looking forward to being 10 because I might finally be allowed to stay up late, maybe even after nine o'clock in the evening. But for a long time 10 seemed impossibly far off, bringing the threat of greater responsibilities, and scarily close to big school. Then it turned out when I got there that 10 wasn't especially old after all, and 10 seems ridiculously young now.

I used to think 17 was old. So old that the law would allow me to sit behind the wheel of a car and propel it forward, perish the thought. On the verge of adulthood, amongst that upper elite called the sixth form, some of who even had attempts at facial hair flourishing on their upper lip. That would never be me, surely. Then suddenly I had a provisional driving licence, and my name on the electoral roll, and all sorts of big decisions to make about university, and it turned out that 17 wasn't old, merely important.

I used to think 22 was hideously old. It says so in my diary from twenty-five years ago, so I really did think that, or else I was being deliberately ironic. 22 was the first birthday I spent working rather than studying, with proper adult responsibility. 22 was also the first time the number of birthday cards I received was less than my age, which was a bit depressing, as was the complete lack of anything party-like in the evening. But that same diary page ends by describing 23 next year as "really old", so clearly 22 wasn't as bad as all that.

I used to think 30 was old. 30 was the point at which middle-age began, when everyone started behaving responsibly, maturely, boringly. Nobody had fun in their 30s, surely, they were all too busy buying sensible shoes and wearing slacks and starting families. That film Logan's Run was onto something, don't you think, killing off its entire society at the age of 30? And then I hit 30, and beyond, and discovered that the thirties were my most exciting decade yet. So much livelier, and so much more sociable than I'd ever expected. 30 wasn't a deadline, merely a cusp.

I used to think 40 was old. Everybody said it was, and who was I to disbelieve them? A chronological cliff-edge, beyond which the only way was straight down. Nobody would ever fancy me after I was 40, so if I hadn't found a life partner by 39 then I was doomed. My body would start falling apart, my eyesight would collapse, my hair would turn grey and my waistline would explode... or so I'd been told. But then I reached 40 and it was just another birthday. Other people might have judged me differently because my age began with a 4 instead of a 3, but 40 didn't bother me as much as it did them.

I never really thought much about being 47. 47 was just an anonymous birthday in the doldrums of the upper forties, an age of little consequence, merely another stepping stone on the slow trek to death. And now here I am at 47 and having to come to terms with my newly-designated age label. You might discriminate me as old because of it, depending on how far below 47 you are, but I still feel like the same person who was 40, 30, 22, 17 and 10.

But coming up soon is 50. An entire half century, imagine that. I'll be well past the halfway point of my life, on a slippery slope to obsolescence and decrepitude. At 50 I'll have nothing to look forward to other than ill health, decreasing vigour and a collapsing libido. I'll be wrinkled, unfit, unattractive, and beyond hope. 50's not just middle-age, it's late middle-age, and the point where the younger generation surely disowns and ignores me...

...except I know 50 won't feel like that when I get there. What 47 years on earth have taught me is that "old" always starts next year, never this. All I am today is older, and the same goes for every birthday to come.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream