Friday, May 21, 2004

The big four-oh

This blog turns two next week, but it’s a case of h-h-hold the celebrations in my life for the few next weeks, until I pass-over the speed-hump otherwise known as turning 40. And meika, my fellow GenX poster-child is not far behind me.

By tradition AFAIK, 40 is the birthday in which the young fruit of your loins should bring you breakfast in bed, and give you a “joke” present of Grosby slippers – a “joke” because, of course, you are still whole months away from deciding they are, in fact, quite cosy, and if it’s only for around the house . . .

Lacking fruit of my loins, and probably also lacking a job by the time the big day swings round (my sessional contract ends in early June), I’m not sure what to do, by way of celebration. Apart from the obvious, of course – getting pissed with the gang.

This dilemma aside, the weird thing is that I feel quite happy being about to enter the Land of the Old. Forty is definitely "old", BTW, because it’s the halfway point of a typical lifespan, which first-half can also be neatly subdivided into Yoof (0-18ish) and the Getting Pissed with the Gang years (18ish-39) (or is that just me?).

That said, I’m not at all sure, at this point, what is the proper category title for the 40-60 years – I mean, for me, as opposed to boomers, for whom these years simply mean/meant obscene rolling in easy money. I am confident, though, that I won’t ever have a mid-life crisis (= 45 y.o. man realises he has just worn Grosby slippers to his local mega-mall, and makes mental note to buy a Harley-D so all will be right again, soon).

As a young person, I found it impossible to imagine an Old person when they where young. Of course, everyone knows that they must have been, once, but I’m talking about making a concrete mental picture.

Here comes the philosophical/metaphysical bit: the Young cannot picture the Old-as-young, because the Old cut-off and shed their own youth. Which is as it should be. And I’m not talking here about paunchy 50-somethings being derided for wearing sk8 fashion, or whatever, but of this cutting-off being a positive thing.

If forty’s the halfway point in life, then it’s all downhill from here – “downhill” as in: you’ve sat long enough in that creaky chairlift, and now it's just you, gravity and sweet nature, battling it out in one lon-n-n-g schuss all the way to the finish line.

And I plan a wild ride on this account: dole and poverty at 40 is one hell of a summit to start from.

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