31 January, 2006

30 something

A remembrance of times past has been haunting these last few entries, initially unwittingly but latterly with my full and unqualified blessing.

I'm turning 30 in a few days time and the significance of this landmark is only now beginning to hit home. All the flap and fluster of the past few weeks had provided a convenient distraction from the business of notching up three full decades - until now, that is, when all my thoughts seem to be flowing unfettered towards the subject of getting older, and leaving my twenties behind, and whether I should be more fussed about it than I am, and whether I should be fussing at all.

30. It looks worse written down. I'm sure it's something to do with my oldest memory of my parents being from when they were in their thirties. Consequently I'm approaching a point in age which I've only ever associated with my mum and dad, and hence with families and mortgages and cars and pensions and a slew of other things I've had no experience of whatsoever. Which makes it all the more terrifying.

By 30 you're supposed to have, well, settled down - aren't you? You're supposed to have roots, to have savings, to have prospects. Again, these are all alien to me. Not to some of my peers, granted, but then they're the ones who managed to find their way out of university straight into a career which launched them onwards and upwards into domesticity and family and joint bank accounts. By rights they should be settled by 30 - some of them are married, for heaven's sake.

I'm far from settled, and can see now how I wasted my twenties pissing about doing too much in the way of looking backwards and fretting about looking forwards, in the process totally ignoring the here and now. And yet...the person I was ten years ago feels a stranger to me today. Something must have happened between then and now to unpick whatever I once had by way of a continuous thread of existence. Something has ruptured time's fabric to make the person of 1996 as much as unapproachable as someone from 1896.

Maybe this is just temporary. Maybe some wheel of fortune or other will swing back round the other way and close the yawning gap I feel between the present and the past. I hope so. At this precise minute the past is as much a foreign country to me than any poetic statement or piece of classical verse could possibly convey, and I hate it. I can't stand it. Re-reading old diary entries is like picking over the scrawlings of a stranger.

This lunacy of a limbo can't continue. Before I consign my twenties to the dustbin of memory, I'd like to claim something from them that is of value; at the very least of value to me, but more importantly to others. Can I have wandered wisp-like through the last ten years leaving no imprint upon anyone else's conscience, memory or heart? What's a few million words written down in volumes of paper nobody else will see compared to a few spoken words of reassuring reminiscence from one to another?

If I close my eyes and keep on walking, perhaps I can make it to the other side without waking up on the day itself. The selfish in me feels that sometimes it's as much as anyone can hope in this life to find peace with themselves. The selfless in me feels that as long as everyone else has found that peace then why should I presume to protest otherwise?

Please don't let me fear anything I cannot explain;
I can't believe I'll never believe in anything again.

- Elvis Costello


Post a Comment

<< Home