Sunrise in Snowdonia, April 2019
One of the (many) things you notice when looking back through old diaries, having written in them every day for over twenty years, is that you have pretty much always thought that you are old. And you saw it as a bad thing.
There were a few fleeting, false dawns of maturity during your teens – worrying acknowledgements of the fact you would no longer spend birthday parties eating jelly and cake at the likes of Aqua-splash – but really it started at 21. You’d reached the first major milestone since officially becoming an adult three years earlier, and this latest, permanent indentation into the more middle-y parts of your lifespan came with the gloomy realisation that you no longer had it, “all before you”. Your youth became part of the past.
With each passing birthday since twenty one, that youth became a smaller and smaller dot in the distance, but your responsibilities became bigger. The jelly got replaced by too many glasses of Prosecco, and sunny Saturday afternoons besides riverbanks got replaced by rainy Saturday afternoons in actual banks, where prim-faced staff in suits would go through every element of your personal finances and calculate that you might need to work beyond your death – perhaps as a ghost at a jolly Halloween attraction – just to have enough to make ends meet before you go.
When you turn another year older, it’s very easy to see the negative, especially when you start throwing the concept of ‘life milestones’ in the mix (but I’ve written enough about the absurdity of those on here, and bored enough of my peers in real life too).
It’s rare now, that we acknowledge our birthdays without feeling some sense of being “old now lolz”… or “REALLY old now!”. I’ve been very guilty of this in the past, as my diaries have shown. Apparently I was feeling completely past it at twenty four, and every year since I continued to do so. When the first grey hairs started emerging a few years back, I probably would have started researching Stannah stair-lifts if I’d had the time.
But this year I’ve decided to look at things differently, because actually I’m not sure it’s a bad thing to be “old” at all. We shouldn’t feel negative about being old, we should instead just feel lucky that we made it this far, because lots of others didn’t. We all know people who didn’t. Another orbit around the Sun represents another 365 gifts you were given, and okay some of those gifts weren’t the sort that might have you sprinting down the stairs on Christmas Day, but a lot of the others probably were, and any that did neither probably still gave you something to smile about or learn about in their own, special, understated way.
And more to the point – you’re not old anyway. Your future self is telling you to shut the fuzzy up. Nobody is old, because everybody is in fact – today – the youngest they’ll ever be again. Isn’t that alone worth smiling about? Enough to make you believe you’ve still got it in you to go out and do something crazy, like go out and join a dance troupe or take a night hike across the Hebrides? On rollerblades?
34 was the first birthday in many, many years where I didn’t feel any kind of dread or resentment about my age.
And neither should you.
Song of the Day: Midnight Sister – Daddy Long Legs
Experimental pop duo. I always like those. And I really like this.