Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The One Where I Ponder Life

In four months time, it will be December. December 2011, to be precise, and I will be twenty five years old.

25. Twenty five. XXV. A quarter of a century.

For the first time ever, my age is beginning to freak me out. Because in December I'll be 25, and that feels an eternity away from 20, yet ominously close to 30. Before I know it, I'll be wearing cardigans, and sandals. I'll have a drawer set aside for handkerchiefs. 11pm will be considered a "late night", and I'll find myself agreeing with Ken Clarke.

The funny thing however is that I've always been a bit like that anyway. I had my childhood stage, the awful puberty stage, and then I seemed to skip the stage where everyone tried drugs, went to raves and music festivals and instead ploughed straight on to adulthood. I did a personality test the other day which told me that I was a 50 year old man stuck in a 24 year old body. Not literally - that would be odd - but you and I both know what it meant. For Gods sake, I fucking love sherry. And Pimms! So not only am I middle-aged, but I'm middle-class as well. How strange it is then that growing old terrifies me ever so slightly.

I've never, ever been physically fit, but this past year or so, I can feel the change. I've lost half a step, and I know it. I can feel the pain in the back of my legs whilst walking up The Wrekin. I can feel my stomach muscles aching a day after I've done gardening. Gardening, by the way! You see! Most of all, I can feel how sensitive my ankles are, after "going over" on them (particularly my left) once or twice a month. I was watching my football club play tonight. Our goalkeeper is 20, and the average age of the side was 23. Lewis Hamilton had won a F1 World Championship by the age of 25, Rory McIlroy a US Open. I appreciate none of that is exclusive to me, but, Christ, it makes me feel old.

I'm currently re-reading one of my favourite novels - 'Le Grand Meaulnes', written by Alain-Fournier. Two things strike me whilst reading it - a) How it's a precursor to 'Catcher in the Rye' (another novel that I love) and b) How both novels aren't about "coming of age" as many people think, but instead the exact opposite. They're "refusal to age" novels. For all the world-weariness and maturity shown by Augustine Meaulnes and Holden Caulfield in places, both of them are young adults who just can't force themselves to let go of their childlike tendencies. The reason why I love these books is because I can relate to them. I read Holden Caulfield and thought "fucking hell - that's me" and it's true.

Every one of you reading this will know this question: "What's the meaning of life?"

I hate to brag, but I reckon I solved that one a long time ago. The meaning of life, in my opinion, is to reproduce. Because if you don't do that, than your species dies, so your whole purpose is to keep the chain trundling along so that it's still going strong 100 years after you've pegged it. Here's where I become Augustine though. On one hand, all I want in life - realistically - is to fulfil that, to have a wife and a child. On the other, I want to watch baseball, eat crisps and try and get a degree without giving a solitary fuck.

What words scare you, if any? For me, it's words like "mortgage", "marriage" and most importantly of all "responsibility". The hilarious thing however is that I want all of those things, in the sense that I'll need a mortgage to have my own house, I'll need to take responsibility if I ever raise a child. Every time I dare to stick my neck above the parapet however I instantly think "fuck that" and go back to watching The Jerry Springer Show and tweeting some bollocks. How odd it is that the things I want the most are the things that terrify me the most.

I'm rambling and this is all pointless bollocks so time to wrap it up. In conclusion, I'm a man who's 24 going on 50 who also needs to grow up a bit. Nice to meet you. Now, who the hell are you?