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.