(Planet Me)
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
The Last Day Of Being 40

At 40, you're meant to know what you are doing. You're meant to be a grown up. You're meant to be responsible. You're meant to have children. And a dog. And a mortgage. You're meant to have your act together. You're meant to be old, responsible, boring. You're meant to give up. You're meant to go to bed early, look after yourself, eat healthy foods, be fittier, happier, more productive. You're meant to not go out late, not see bands down the front and jump up and down singing the words, you're meant not to be passionately in love with being alive. You're supposed to be settled. You're meant to know stuff, like how to change a plug, and how to keep in a fart during a meeting. You're meant to be married with 2.4 children in suburbia, the Mondeo, and the job in the city. Complete. You're meant to be what I was always taught was the enemy : the establishment. The old guard. One of the people who has stopped trying to change the world, and seeks only to feather the nest in my own world.

You're meant to know who you are. You're supposed to stop questioning and have figured it – whatever it is – out by now. You only figure it all out when its over. If you stop reading a book halfway through, you don't know that really, 2+2= 5. Only that you love Big Brother.

You will be walking along, minding your own business. In your mind, you will be 27,30, and you will catch a glance of an older man looking at you, and then you realise, that is you. My grandmother said the same thing, she doesn't recognise the old lady staring out of the mirror. There's too many wrinkles and not enough hair. Who replaced me with an older version of myself?

Your looks will fade. People may see you not as ever having been young, but as someone twice their age and half as attractive. Nobody wants certain kinds of baggage. Hair will grow out of your nose, not your head, and it will not have any colour anymore. You can't get to 40 and have a life worth living without ex-girlfriends, ex-wives, ex-husbands, children, divorces, a history. The weight of time may drag behind us, but that doesn't mean we have to stop striving for a life worth living. Being 40 doesn't mean you have to stop asking the same questions that took man beyond the next hill, all the way to the moon. Why? And Why Not? ….What is life? And.... What happens next?

Being 40 was tough for me. It started in a turbulent place. It got worse. And then it got better. Much better. Wonderful things happened. I also became staggeringly ill, the worst period of illness I have had in my adult life. But we go forward. Onward. Upward. I don't want to look back.

Being older has meant a lot of things. I'm not my hairstyle. I don't even have hair anymore. By 40 you're meant to be a grown up. And yes, whilst you may have that, you are not just that. You're a lover, a friend, a husband, a father, a mother, a wife, but also... a person with hopes and dreams. Something may be pushing them to the side of their lives, but that doesn't mean you cannot push back. Life is for living.

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