On turning sixty
One of the reasons I particularly wanted to escape the country for the first week of January was because the week contains my birthday. This year, my birthday has a zero on the end of it, making it loom before me like some kind of giant milestone.
I feel much the same today as I did yesterday of course; one day doesn’t fundamentally change things. This time it is different though, if not for me then in the eyes of the world beyond.
I am now officially old.
If I needed any proof of my old person status, I am now entitled to something called a senior railcard, which will see me whizzing around the UK a third cheaper than I could have done it last year.
In turning sixty I feel as if I have moved from one room to another; this new room, whilst still full of fun and frivolity, is just a little nearer to the exit.
There are no more boxes left to tick. The one I tick now is normally the last one.
I do have a sense of time running out and a need to savour what is important to me, sloughing off the deadwood: the people and things that don’t bring joy to my life.
My mantra for the coming decade is: if it requires fake smiling then I’m not going. I no longer stay later than I want at social gatherings because it’s ‘polite’ or make time in my life for people who moan and criticise or just don’t get me.
The various health issues that I have had over the past year have forced me to reassess my lifestyle and settle down a little, although maybe that was something I needed to do anyway. I have been craving the sense of community and connection that you don’t find when you move from one temporary home to the next. I have not given up travelling, I have simply added other things to my life.
So yesterday I raised a Mojito to new possibilities and an exciting decade ahead. This new room I have entered is painted purple and is full of opportunity.