Rants, stuff'n'fluff

Ruminations on reaching a funny age

tomorrows world

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…

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2 thoughts on “Ruminations on reaching a funny age

  1. Stuart, this is great – a proper old rant! It’s good to get a few things off your chest now and again, especially the big stuff, which can really drill you down when you consider how little effect we can have on our own. It is only when we come together we can achieve things – Saint Bob worked that out, so did Saint Mandela, but these are exceptions, not norms. We are (on the whole) a selfish, ignorant and arrogant parasite on this planet. It’s nice to know that ‘your generation’ is thinking about this stuff (- I turned 41 recently!!!!) – but the students I’m teaching now (note to current students – sorry guys, but that’s what it seems like…) are largely unaware or even faintly interested in much more than their phones, their clothes or indeed, whether Katie and Peter will ever patch things up! That worries more than some of the bigger stuff. That and the people elected to represent us and guide us into the future are more concerned with their moats, mortgage interest payments, porn films and duck palaces. We can’t change the world, but we can have some influence over our little bit of it. Despite your (healthy) cynicisim, you sound very much like one of the good guys. If you can’t count on anything else my friend, you’ve always got that.

  2. Hej Chris, Yes, well, I think I get your gist a little too much! I thought I was the only one feeling short changed by Tommorrows World to! The great thing about Old(er) Age, is that at least, after a lifetime of moaning, I really do have something to moan about…I mean with some insights and experiences to back it up with!
    Life sorts us out in the end, we get found out and sorted out somehow, but its worth trying and your blog prooves it! Its an inspiration to see people being interested in stuff (and fluff!), challenging themselves, trying out new ways of doing, seeing, beeing…
    I like it! I’m in danger of geeting a bit random here so I am going off ot get some more coffee to boost the charred remains left in the my skull cavity. Nice blog mate, nice blog.
    Pablo.

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