Is it possible to pinpoint an exact moment, or even a period of time when we graduate from one generation to the next? I don’t remember ever filling out an application form or seeking a nomination, but somewhere over the past while I have found myself doing things that are only done by people of the next generation up from where I have been hanging out for the last 20 years or so. Maybe you’ve found yourself doing some of these too?
Do you wander the house mumbling to yourself as you turn off lights and appliances in empty rooms? Is the mumbling a commentary to yourself about it being easy to know who doesn’t pay the bills in this house? Do your kids look at you like you’re a loser as the vein throbs in the side of your forehead as you rip open the latest electricity bill?
Have you stashed a pair of reading glasses in every room of the house, yet can still never find a pair when you need them, only to realise you have a pair on your head and another hanging from that very becoming glasses string around your neck?
Do you struggle to understand how anyone would waste their time and money going to a nightclub? Does the very idea of having to shout to be heard while drinking warm overpriced alcohol send a shiver down your spine? Why would you when you could be in your local boozer having a quiet pint of a Saturday night? Ah, heaven.
Does every cough or cold, every lump and bump make you stop to think that this could be the beginning of the end? Do you understand what the blood pressure numbers actually mean? Is your body slower to get going every morning and craving bed by 10pm?
Do struggle to resolve the fact that Ed Sheeran can be that bloody talented and mature a songwriter and singer and still be only 24.? And how can Taylor Swift be 27. Sure she only had her first hit yesterd……oh wait…. right.
Do you wonder where all those lunatic drivers on the road have come from? Do you find yourself treating the speed limit as a limit not a target? If somebody tailgates you, is your response to pull in to let them pass, rather than giving them the finger in the mirror and putting the boot down?
When you go to the barbers, do you find he spends more time chatting to you than cutting your hair? And when he is cutting hair, its mostly from your eyebrows and nose?
When you’re waiting at the school gate to collect your kids and you are wondering why so many of the students aren’t in uniform. You then realise it’s because they are the teachers.
You have used the phrase ‘back in our day’ and not while making a joke.
When you have to make contact with someone, do you still occasionally use your phone as a phone? Instead of texting, Tweeting, Facebooking, Snapchatting, WhatsApping or Vibering, do like to hear the sound of the voice of the person with whom you wish to converse? Do you still find that what would take ten minutes of to-ing and fro-ing on a messaging service can be achieved in a fraction of that time by short phone call?
Do you find that you now use your weekends to recover from the week’s work and not the other way around? When you do misbehave and go on the lash, do you find the hangover from a Saturday night session and the little black dog that goes with it is only truly fully gone on Wednesday morning?
Does every fish and chips you look at require you letting your belt out another notch? Is it easier than breathing to put on weight? Does it take an ever more disproportionate effort to keep the weight under control, and whereas a run or two a week in your thirties would have kept the love handles at bay, now it takes a superhuman effort of healthy eating and exercise just to keep the scales from shredding its springs.
There is a lot of fun to be had in getting to this next stage in life. Do you find you’re more comfortable in your skin and couldn’t care less what so and so thinks about you? Are you quite happy to have a small circle of good friends rather than a huge circle of people you go on the lash with? Do you cherish the Sunday late afternoon film on the couch, or walk on the beach with your other half and the kids?
But underneath all this submission to the effects of ageing is there not still a huge love for the act of living, and deeper enjoyment of the things that matter, family, friends, home, the pursuit of knowledge and peace. I love how Aldous Huxley summed it up when he said;
ˇA child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention.”
Life is good.