41 today! Apparently life began last year…
Unsurprisingly perhaps, I know a few people who passed their 40th birthday in the past year or so, along with one or two for whom the change of decade is looming, and the unanimous sentiment is one of doom and gloom.
And yet for me, turning 40 twelve months ago was in no way the apocalyptic event everyone else perceives it to be. For a while I just figured it was because I was already in the swing of a full on midlife crisis, so reaching this age wasn’t going to make any real difference.
But following on from a few conversations I’ve had of late, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s actually because I haven’t reached my natural age yet.
I remember my mother used to say that inside she only ever felt 18, so constantly got a surprise when she looked in the mirror and found this old woman staring back at her. My father has always struck me as a young man in his twenties at heart, despite the fact that he’s now into his seventies. And my brother, who is 4 years older than me, is a teenager through and through; the idea of him as a grown up is too difficult to get my head around, no matter how thin his hair gets.
On the other side of it we all know people who act like grumpy old men and women despite being youthful in appearance. And when I go to pick up Meg from school in the afternoons I nearly always notice a child from her class who I just know will look exactly the same when he’s 85 years old: he’s a pensioner waiting to happen.
Even putting aside the days when I feel I’m not a day less than at least 16 billion years, and still in desperate need of a good night’s sleep, the fact is I was never a young man.
As a child I really didn’t enjoy the company of other children. They were small-minded, petty, superficial and, well, childish. The reality was I couldn’t wait to grow up and I’m infinitely happier as an adult than I ever was as a kid. I once saw a young lass who was dreadfully upset that she was about to turn 20 – her life was all but over. I’m not usually driven to wanting to slap people, but the urge was there on this occasion. My twenties were considerably better than my teens, and I felt far more comfortable in my thirties than I ever did in my twenties.
Now I’m in my forties and I still feel the best is yet to come. Perhaps I’ll be truly at home in my late forties or even early fifties. It’s an odd thought that most people are mourning for a lost youth while I’m still looking forward with expectancy.
So what age do you feel? Are you younger or older than your refection indicates?