It’s funny how age changes as you get older.
As soon as a child becomes aware of age, he or she will loudly proclaim it to the world, and will even declare the quarters, as they are very important. “I am four and a quarter” they will loudly proclaim and woe betide any parent who leaves out the all important quarter.
As they approach double digits, the quarters will be dropped as they are then perceived as childish. The most important thing at this stage is to achieve the double digits, because then you are BIG.
Through the teens, a child will tell their age very grudgingly. It’s not that they are ashamed of their age; it’s just that any information is parted with very grudgingly. The goal at this stage is to reach that age where they can legally drive a car, or vote, or legally get hammered down the pub.
From the twenties on, age isn’t as important as it used to be. Birthdays are celebrated as a routine rather than something significant. Of course this is the period of The Big Four Oh, or The Big Five Oh which, like the turning of the New Year is just a matter of digits and has sweet all fucking significance, but it seems to make some people happy.
At my age, birthdays is an event which tends to catch us by surprise. It creeps up on us, and the next thing is that we are wondering where the fuck the year went since the previous one. People ask us how old we are, and instead of the figure tripping lightly off our tongues, we have to carefully calculate by subtracting our year of birth from the current year. As we have usually forgotten what year it is, and the old maths aren’t as sharp as they used to be, this can take some time. It’s easier to just forget we have a birthday in the first place.
Of course, I am now heading towards the next phase. That is the phase where a birthday is more of a triumph than a celebration. It’s another year where The Reaper has been cheated and a further year to piss off society by cluttering up the place. I’m not looking forward to that phase, but I’m not dreading it either. I’ll will take things as they come.
But the first person who mentions ‘young’ when giving my age had better be prepared to have their head caved in with a baseball bat.
‘Eighty years young?’