So today, 26th October 2012, I apparently turn 40. Forty seems – and frankly is (especially to my twenty-something friends) – pretty old.
My mum has a habit of saying to me – every year – “[insert age here] – it’s a good age to be”. And although I take the piss out of her whenever she says it, she’s right, at least in some ways. Being older brings with it a sense of place, of being a bit more sure about who you are and where you’re going. Having children, being married, owning a house – all those things that seemed utterly alien once – these things are lovely, grounding, important life things – and I appreciate them hugely.
Forty seems more important to everyone else than it does to me. There seems to be a common fashion of wincing whenever the turnover from 30-something to 40-something is mentioned. I don’t think I’m in denial about this. I’ve already admitted I’m having a mid-life
crisis reassessment. I’ll tell you this much for free – it doesn’t feel like it’ll hurt nearly as much as 50…
Forty does seem important in one respect – it shines a bright light on the time four decades ago today. Without getting too maudlin (caution: maudlin alert) – my father had been suffering a brain tumour which would – about a week after my birth, kill him. Today, in 1972, my mum was on her way back from hospital after what she (last night over dinner) described, heartbreakingly, as “a profoundly lonely childbirth”. Lonely. Childbirth is many things, but lonely – fuck.
Enough. Things I’ve learnt? Live it, each and every day. Don’t think about death too much. Hang out with your children. Think about what it means. Look at the stars and wonder at it all. Don’t let the detail get in the way of the important. Drink cider. Smoke weed. Read a fuck ton of books. Money means fuck all.
It’s generally recognised that parents think about their children about a zillion times more often than children think about their parents. So: I guess this one goes out to my mum, my lovely, brave, artistic, intellectual mum.