45 is NOT the new 35
On Sunday 22 June, I turn 45.
Let me say that again: I turn 45!
Me, the eternal teenager (according to my mother), the ‘child’ (according to my wife) and ‘that immature bloke giggling in the corner’ (to a lot of other people), yes, I turn 45.
Some say this is the last gasp before true middle age hits. Some say 40 is the new 30 (whatever the heck that means). Some say I’m already middle-aged (and they can well and truly fuck right off).
Some say… Wait a minute, I don’t give a damn what ‘some’ say, I’m turning 45! (If I could yell this in type, I would).
I’m not lamenting the fact or concerned about what others might think of my juvenility, I’m going on about it because I find it hard to believe.
But there are little signs occurring around me to indicate I am, in fact, getting older by the day.
To start with, my dear wife and I have been invited to attend the 18th birthday party of my eldest niece. I can remember, let’s see, was it the day before yesterday or the day before that when she was born? She can’t be old enough to vote, drink or fight in a war. No way, not on my youthful, vigorous life.
But she is… Damn it all, she is REALLY turning 18. So I guess it REALLY does mean I am getting old, no matter how much I try to deny it. She is the first reminder to be followed by a steady stream of reminders stretched out over the next 14 odd years.
Then there are the physical signs like grey and thinning hair, the cute laugh lines who have decided to invite all their friends over to stay on my face and traitorous joints that have taken it upon themselves to avenge my years of abusing them. The ginger in my beard and sideburns has decided it prefers being white too. I used to think I might end up looking dignified, kind of like George Peppard. The reality is I’ve ended up looking… mottled.
And what happened to my memory? It used to be sharp and… and… where was I?
See what I mean?
So, I’ve come up with a plan. Not a very practical one, mind you, but at least its something.
I want to take back all the time I spent watching really crap movies and listening to really crap music, despite these being recommended by someone who usually had good taste.
I want to take back all the time I spent reading and studying the subjects I’ve never had to use since I left school (Economics, Ancient History, Physics, Calculus, Chemistry and a few others my bloody memory won’t give me). I want to take back all the time I spent wooing girls who didn’t like me to start with but wanted me for my open wallet. I want to take back all the time I spent sitting on buses, trains, planes and cabs.
I figure if I could get this time back, then I’d probably be turning 35 instead.
But there are perks, I suppose. I can loudly and honestly declare I’m an old bastard and school kids should stand up and let me have a seat. I can rant and rave at ‘those young whippersnappers’ who might annoy me just by being rowdily alive. I can start conversations with “I remember back in my day…” and silently laugh as I hear the younguns groan with the weight of boredom.
Or maybe I can just wake up on Sunday and simply pretend its another birthday, go see the new Incredible Hulk movie, have some Yum Cha and try and be in bed at a reasonable hour, cause fuck knows, at my age, I need my sleep.