Oh, dear, ‘upon reaching 43’. If only I’d known my older self back then.

Just as your children have become civilised and interesting people, they leave4 home and someone else reaps the benefit.

You learn that the Empty Nest Syndrome is more than a bogeyman once invented by your mother to frighten you.

Your children kindly explain the meaning of life top you. That is, they tell you that moving on is the natural order of things. You experience a feeling of déjà vu until you realise it is the same speech you once gave to your own parents.

You find yourself prefacing remarks with the phrase ‘in my day…’ I the past this phrase indicated that you were in the company of old people. This sends you into a panic. It suggests that you have become old and set in your ways and have closed yourself from being receptive to new ideas and concepts. You immediately place yourse34lf on an ‘in my day…diet.’

The elderly, who are alway7s living in the past have initiated you into the secret of time travel. However your new resolution urges you to go forward. You choose not to complacently vegetate your way from middle age through to old age. You choose to try new things. You choose life.

Your choice introduces you to the joys of expanding your horizons. You discover, for example, that studying the historical past is relevant to the present, and that studying literature is more than a good yarn. In other words, you learn that everything is interesting and nothing is useless.

You feel physically unchanged until you come into contact with mirrors. You begin to understand that Newton’s laws of gravity are more than an interesting theory about droopy socks and falling apples; they relate directly to you.

You accept that civilisation’s veneer is flimsy, fashions change but humanity does not, wars are still being fought over religious and racial intolerance and territory. This makes you very cynical about humanity until your faith is restored by individuals.

It is a time of contradictions and confusion. You are: too old for a bikini but too young for neck to knee; too old to skinny dip but too young for orthopaedic shoes; too old for an apprenticeship but too young for the pension; too old for braces but too young for false teeth; too old for Barbie but too mature for Ken.

You finally emerge from this quagmire of doubt and confusion a sane but scarred person.


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