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Sunday, 4 October 2015


On the eve of yet another birthday, it's time to confess that I don't think I'm getting older very graciously. No matter how often I get told how distinguished grey hair looks, I remain a fan of the glossy dark mop I used to have. Besides which, what does that platitude mean? Who wants to look distinguished? Isn't that the same as poncy? Distinguished from what? Those poor folk who haven't yet experienced the joy of grey hair?

There is also something infuriating and frustrating about not being able to do physically what I used to, but instead being prone to the physical frailties occasionally visited upon me. Instead of being out rowing or canoeing up I storm, as I write I find myself on my bed with a buggered back. I must say that I quite liked the indestructible warrior of yore. Then of course im not sure that I really appreciate the growing network on my face of smile, frown and worry-lines. These apparently give one character. Bring back the character-less smooth face, I say. Where rising at 4.30am for a run or ride used to be a daily joy, rising nowadays an hour later to go to work has become something of a chore.

So, with that whinge-fest out of the way, the true question is: what's this all about? My friend and mentor, Ann McMaster, reminded me a few weeks ago what a hiding to nothing we are on if we keep comparing ourselves with others. I didn't think that I do that, but clearly at some sub-conscious level I do at least keep comparing myself with Andrew Jr, the 20-something year old Adonis that I must have thought I was (in all my youthful arrogance).

The truth, however, is that whilst I may have slowed down a bit physically, I'm fundamentally the same human being I always was: inherently kind, loving, caring and so on. Nothing has changed in that sense. However,  the massive advantage I now have over Andrew Jr. is the life learning and experience for which I would have given my eye teeth in my 20's. That's the trade off between youth and middle age, and so long as I can tap into that life experience and all that goes with it, I can be truly grateful at a spiritual and emotional level for my advancing years. In that sense I'm perfect, just as I am.

Besides which, I do love birthdays.

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