I like ageing. If you’re someone who could never rely on good looks, ageing feels like your favourite aunt who comes to visit after a really long time and who brings candy and loves all the children equally.
With ageing, the playing field between us normal folk and the gorgeous ones evens out a little bit. Not that gorgeous people become less gorgeous with age, but they tend to notice destruction earlier and with more intensity, so they too are forced to accept the relative uselessness of appearance.
But with age comes a plethora of magical changes that I wish could have kicked in in my early twenties. Some of you will know of what I speak.
With each passing year there is a greater and greater surge of unfounded confidence gushing through your veins that convinces your brain that you can do anything. The cerebral connections that make us cling to undeserved people and tolerate undeserved malice withers and dies and what is left is this unexplained conviction that you’re worth some goodness and happiness.
But there is dangerousness about ageing that lurks in the darker corners and reveals itself as comfort.
One of the things I’m proud of most about my life is that I’ve changed professions and acted fearlessly in pursuit of what I considered to be my dreams. Of course I could only do this because of the privilege of good parents and loans, so I’m not oblivious to my fortune…
But my willingness to start over…even when I approached 30 at an uncomfortable speed…has made all the difference. My life is – at least to me – rather interesting. I’ve done things and seen things that others read about in books. Yes, I’ve missed getting married and having children, but I’ve never wanted kids and I’ve tasted love. Apart from some minor mistakes, I’m happy about the colorfulness of my life’s palet.
But now I’m 40 years-old and I’m comfortable. Everything is in place for me to die: I have some success at work (note: only a litte!), the pension is in place, the insurances are paid, the will is drafted and the funeral plan is reviewed.
But I’m 40, man, not 96. Of course I may shuffle off this dusty planet tomorrow, but I may not.
There is an opportunity for me to return to a previous career in civil service. But this will mean I leave a job I rather hate, but which provides me with tremendous comfort, freedom and little daunting challenge. The younger me would have jumped at the chance and embraced the difficulties of a noble profession that brings much satisfaction and purpose. But my 40 year-old self is like: meeeh, but all the freedom and opportunity to research and my own office is so on point and I have a place to park my car now and oh the luxury of it all…
The great fight between the everyday comforts vs the dream to make a difference…even at a later stage in my life, is a fierce one.
And then there is the reality that too many people on earth do not have jobs. Here I am, choosing my words carefully to moan about options. Maybe I deserve the inner conflict. But that’s another thing about ageing: you remember all to frequently that you are not the only person on the planet. You have just been insanely lucky.
Tonight is not a chocochino night…I think I’ll have some wine…