Tuesday, 22 April 2014

In praise of being older

I am into my last hour of being 37 and, to be honest, it's been freaking me out. I'm actually not one to be that bothered about my age until the last five years or so.

Turning 30 was fine, you're barely out of your twenties. Thirty five was a bit wobbly but wasn't that bad, but the closer I hurtle towards 40 the more 'orrible it sounds.

I can't work out why. It can't be because I'm scared of losing my looks - I've never been that enamoured with them in the first place. Frankly, the only way to go is up - one can hope that aging will change one's face or something. Magically give me cheek bones at some point.

It's probably the same as all of my fears - rooted in my terror of death and a life half lived. But that's the human condition really isn't it? I'm a bad one for comparing myself to other people and wondering what I should have, where I should be and what my plans should be.

I get annoyed at young entrepreneur types, the ones who're running companies before they're 22. The ones who make me wonder what in fuck I spent my late teenage years and early twenties doing. Over achievers and young stars make me want to punch em in the face. Industries run '30 under 30' lists, as if as soon as you hit 31 you're obsolete. Even if you do something cool now no one gives a fuck cos you're officially old.

Well, to these people I say that for every wunderkind discovering shit and making money there are a gazillion awesome things that came from people in their late 30s and older. Instead of freaking myself out at the thought that I haven't finished my novel yet and wondering whether I will ever make it how I want it, I thought I'd have a small look around to find out which artists, writers and other generally cool people did stuff at an age that our society would deem them defunct.

He wrote Utopia when he was 38. OK, he may have been lunatic batshit cray cray with a Protestant killing bloodlust but he could argue his point. Right up till he decided not to and got his head cut off.

DANIEL DEFOE wrote Robinson Crusoe when he was 50. Pretty impressive, huh?

JOSEPH CONRAD spaffed out Heart of Darkness when he was 42, based on his adventures in the Congo in his 30s. He wasn't too old to write a classic now was he?

VICTOR HUGO was all of 60 when he wrote Les Miserables. I don't even have to think about finishing my book for, like, decades.

cracked out his Messiah when he was 56. Check him out. No one could pull off a crazy wig quite like Handel.

CONFUCIUS himself didn't start teaching until he was in his late 30s.

DA VINCI was 51 before he painted the Mona Lisa and at my age hadn't even started on The Last Supper.

COLUMBUS discovered motherfucking America when he was 41. No way could he have done that in his 20s. Good job they didn't have a '30 under 30' policy for explorers back then.

AMUNDSEN conquered the South Pole at 38 - fit and strong he was, like a whipper snapper. And he made it back. Look at him there. All proud and successful and 38.

JANE AUSTEN didn't write Pride & Prejudice until she was the age I will be in 36 minutes. How pleasing is THAT?

PROUST didn't start looking for lost time until he was 39.

I could go on, but I think I have proved that people over 30 are the best and that all ace things happen from the age of 38 onwards.

Hoorah! Who'd be young?

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