Today is my birthday.
Today I am 36.
I have been hanging on to “youth” by the ends of my fingernails for quite some time now,(the muscles in my fingertips have developed to such an extreme that my fingers look like mushrooms) and I think I finally have to accept now that my youth has passed.
Youth has been given many age variants, from 13-19 to 15-25 to 15-29, but I have been choosing to follow The Danish Youth Council’s lead when they say "Youth is defined as any member of society between the ages of 15 and 35".
But I no longer can even squeeze myself into that category...My youth has packed it’s bags, written me a long and heartfelt “Dear John” letter and bought a one way ticket to The Bahamas (where it will obviously indulge itself on all the fake tanning, Brazilian waxing and Pina Coladas I refused to EVER give it!!)
But does that mean I will have to grow up? Will I have to start “acting my age?”
Will I have to trade my Dunlop Volleys for orthopedic boat shoes with tassels? Am I still allowed to buy mixed lollies? Must I give up on my Transformers obsession (and Astroboy too)? Do I have to start wearing beige now?!!!
Although there have been many times in my life (mostly recently) that my body has felt old, and when the bills have piled up, or one of my family members has been sick, I have had to be responsible. Still I don’t really know if I am quite ready to “grow up”.
When I was about 25, I was walking along the street one sunny Autumn day. I noticed an approaching elderly lady, slowly shuffling along. I was about 5 metres away from her when she stopped under a deciduous tree, the fallen flame-like leaves crunched under her feet as she swayed unsteadily. She looked up at me, grinned cheekily, and proceeded to do a merry gig amongst the autumn debris, kicking up the leaves until she was dancing in her own little autumnal whirlwind.
This has always been one of my favourite memories. If I can retain my youth the way that lady did, I think I will die happily.
So, If you’ll excuse me, I have some aging disgracefully to do.
At what age did you feel “grown up”? Or are you like me and refuse to do it?