I am spending the last few days of my fortieth year thinking about the slow inexorable march of time and the inevitable shuffle away from the ‘life begins’ stage. I have already considered the usual old chestnut of ‘what have I done with my life’ and can be quite happy with my appraisal. Apart from a missed opportunity with Deborah K___ in the last year of school (if only I’d asked her again!) I am satisfied with my personal achievements. I have two great kids and a wife who could describe herself as ‘long-suffering’ but doesn’t. House, car, and the usual baubles too – all the diversions of a normal middle class life. I have developed professionally too, with new letters to add to my name on the business card, some good design work produced, and some generally good responses from my students. I’m still experimenting too, having completed a printmaking course before christmas, and my current experiments with 3D forms and ceramics.
I’ve got more grey hairs than I can count in my once luxuriant dark brown hair. The beard is largely salt and pepper too. There’s noticably more forehead than fringe. And a few twinges that are beginning to be more than just twinges. I am worrying about when I’ll start saying to my students “when I was your age” and “you don’t know that you’re born these days.” It will come, it’s just a matter of time.
I’m not unhappy about all of this, although I may sound like I’m building up to a big ‘but…’, but (well, ok I was) I am feeling a little odd about my age and about time in general. To tell the truth, I can’t remember what I thought my adult life would be like, or whether I even gave it a thought at all. I remember buying the first issue of 2000ad comic as a kid, and working out how old I would be in the year 2000, and being disappointed about how long I would have to wait before I lived in ‘The Future’, with it’s hover bikes and jet packs, commutes to Mars and holidays in space. Food in tablet form and silver suits. Automatic houses where everything was done for you. It’s now 2009 and I won’t be jetting off to Mimas for a fortnight in August. I will be thinking about my hover bike as I sit in the evenings traffic though, and my automatic house, complete with Plexiglas dome over the garden as I wash the pots tonight.
Judith Hahn, Maggie Philbin, and that other guy from ‘Tomorrows World’ sold me a future that no-one had any intention of providing. I guess that I feel a bit cheated, especially about the hover bike.
This spurious outburst was originally published elswhere and has been included here in the hope that others (I am sure I am not alone) may have their own insights to add…