Quiet please, I'm thinking.
Birthdays are strange. While celebrating another year of life successfully completed we are also deducting one more year from however many we get, and whatever way you weigh it those years are rapidly depleting. Yesterday I turned 38. Both my grandfathers lived to a ripe old age, as did my grandmothers, so there’s a fair chance I’ll squeeze another 50 odd years out of the whole experience. Take away the 10 I’ll probably spend unable to really do a whole lot and that leaves 40 years; more or less my age now. My life is half over.
This could be a depressing thought until you realize we spend the first 10-15 years learning not to crap ourselves or poke things into our own eyes. That takes some of us longer to learn than others. Some of us never learn. Then, just when you’ve got a handle on that, combined with learning to read, eat, wash and dress, along comes the opposite sex (or the same sex, for some) and another 5 years are lost trying to figure them out. Realistically we probably only really start to live by age 20 and then, before you know it, half your mates are dead, the rest have become parents (which is as good as dead at that age), are married, mortgaged, unhappy, depressed, insane, alone, and/or alcoholic. Fortunately, I am neither dead nor a parent, only recently married (which I think was a pretty nifty achievement), and not mortgaged yet. So far I’m either way ahead of the game, or way behind it. Take that, 21st century.
Joking aside, it is worth celebrating the notching up of another year of living. Not everyone manages it. Some fall foul of disease, some have accidents, some just give up and others drag on well past their best years. One way or another the Great Leveler seeks us all out and there’s no escaping that. Spending too long thinking about the inevitable is not wise, to say the least. Life is for living and there are any number of decent movies to be seen, important ideas to consider, good books to be read, and wrongs to be righted, so much so that it is practically a crime for any semi-literate, slightly motivated or interested individual to say they are bored. To quote Betty Draper, of Mad Men fame, ‘only boring people get bored.’