Firstly, I am writing this with a bottle of Moet open, accompanied by a meticulously planned dream breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee and a toasted bagel, smeared with cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of black pepper. I feel like I’m on death row, and this is my final meal…. It’s mostly how I will be passing the time today. In a pleasant fog, (and in complete denial). And, I thought champagne might be a nice change from cava, as it’s quite a significant age, and I really should be doing something to mark the occasion. It’s not that I am sad, no, not at all. But neither am I happy or in celebratory mood. And there’s the rub.
There is nothing. I feel nothing, if only the tiniest smidgen of disappointment. But just in myself and the things I appear not to have achieved, according to the *Ten Commandments of Adult Life.
I never seem to learn anything with each passing year. How to save, or have a plan, to prepare for the future. And let’s face it, the future I’m talking about, is no longer so far away. And with each significant birthday that arrives, I have the same conversation with myself, about how I never learn. And I have every faith that I will continue to keep not learning. I fully expect to drop down dead in a classroom, aged a whole one hundred and two years old, while midway through writing the structure of the present perfect continuous with my gnarly, arthritic hands. To a room full of young, vibrant, high-flying executives, who no longer know what a pen is, and want me to **transmogriphamorph the information, directly into their brains. I wish I was joking.
I would like to think that in a mere fifteen years, that’s FIF……TEEN…. (***in past-forty, warp, wormhole speed; that’s no time at all), my life will be so radically and sufficiently different, that I can teach more as a hobby; and not have to actually rely on it to feed myself six baked beans on half a piece of toast for my tea, and pay the rent. That by some divine miracle, there will be enough money in my bank account to relax a bit and concentrate on working on that creosote tan, that pensioner expats seem to magically acquire, when they hit the big SIX-OH and retire to the Costa Brava. But what are the chances of that happening?
It’s here that I wonder, if the purpose of having children (apart from bringing endless joy into the world, natch), would have been to distract us all from our own failings, and worrying about our own rapidly impending old age? If I was so very busy with the every day running of a family home, shouting instructions to little people, desperately trying to remember algebra, confiscating gadgets after 8pm, Googling household life hacks for getting dog poo out of my child’s recorder without damaging its magical tone, feeding, medicating, comforting; I quite simply wouldn’t have the time to mull over what I really should be getting on with, now that I’m a grown-up. My time would be completely taken up with, parent evenings, Saturday swim classes, homework, healthy diet, their future.
So maybe I should have had kids. Or is that too selfish? “I haven’t figured out what I’m supposed to have done with me, so I’ll provide myself with a living, breathing diversion.”
It is just a number, yes, yes, I know, I know – trust me, the inside of my head is a constant fiesta of ball pits, jelly and ice-cream and giggling sleepovers. But you can’t deny biology. The outside of my head is grey and getting wrinkles…… I’m completely realistic, there are physical and financial limitations to being able to relax without a care in the world. And the truth is; parts of me are beginning to ache and I have no savings/pensions/sugar daddies on speed dial……
…….. So, if I could just borrow a child for the next couple of days, until I get over the shock of turning forty-five, and having too much time to think about the grown-up things I should have done; that’d be great. But only after I’ve sobered up. Natch.
*Ten Commandments of Adult Life – blog post coming soon
** transmogriphamorph – transmission of data, from one brain to another (or many) via an implanted, synced chip. IT WILL HAPPEN.
***science provided by Stephen Hawking – you’re welcome.