Sunday, 12 May 2013

30 thoughts on being 30

I have been thinking for the last few weeks about ageing and time as I have been 30, for 50 days.
What I have noticed most of all is the obsession of others with 'turning 30', as though all of a sudden you have become sour, like milk. I have been referred to as bitter in the past but never sour.

My birthday was one I neither dreaded or relished, it was just another day for me, but others were intent in making a thing of it.

1) Time; if one never takes time how can one ever have time? It seems to be moving faster than at any time I can remember, yet there is no more or less of it than in previous years. Observation affects the way in which we perceive our reality and can only say that I live a full and varied life, leaving me little time to clock watch.  Then I remember how it is important not to overlap your actions, in this world of multi-media and multi-tasking, it is easy to lose focus. I could be sat here at my desk with a coffee, my music playing and my phone, tweeting away the latest news updates, but I would not be truly focusing on any one task, so would I be able to appreciate the coffee or the music, or make this make sense?
The only moments I need concern myself with are the ones happening now.

2) When I talk about anything remotely resembling popular culture I tend to get raised eyebrows, followed by "who?"or "what?" Abstaining from the social conditioning box and the radio does not help.
Recent discussions with my nephews led to them asking me what a video or cassette tape was and another discussion during a coaching session I took at rugby left the guys asking me who Zinzan Brooke was. I was flabbergasted. The Skunk Anansie gig I went to in April was full of 30-40 somethings that were at high school their first time around and I also once thought dub-step was a band, getting confused with N-dubz.

3) Memory is a fickle thing. I remember my first try, my latest try, the birth of my nephews and where I was when the world was turned upside down on September 11th 2001 but, for all these memories, I am not the same person I was then, literally. You see, matter flows from place to place and our cells are in a state of continual growth, with the life span of an adults bones typically lasting 7 years. As I sit today I was not in fact there in the park, but the memory of it remains, for now. In another 30 years I may not be able to recollect the finer points of these collections or moments.

4) Brandon Lee once said that everything seems limitless and this philosophy has stuck with me since I was a teenager. He said that we believe we will always have the opportunity to witness the sun rise or set or, to sit under a full moon; but in reality how many times would any of us really sit to witness any one of these moments over the course of our lives? Maybe a handful? A lot of you may say you have stumbled out of a night club and the sun is up, which takes me to point 1; seeing daylight upon stumbling from a club or returning from a night shift at work is different to sitting and witnessing the sun rise over the horizon and the birth of a new day of endless possibilities.

5) Following point 4 I recalled the truth I told myself once before that at 30 I am not even half way through my life. At approximately 262,080 hours old (give or take a few leap years) I am some way from the 650,000 odd hours people generally live for today. Then I thought about how lucky I am to be here at all and made me wonder why people hate getting older? Each day that passes is one that should be cherished and if people concerned themselves more with living, rather than existing, then it would not be so much an issue. I have also finally come to understand the comments by sportsmen and women the world over when they say that the "mind is willing but the body is not" as countless times in the past few weeks I have experienced first hand the young bucks on the rugby field are now no longer left in my wake when I make a break, but instead swallow up the ground and put the hit on me. Hopefully the effort I put in the gym today will stand me in good stead tomorrow (30-40 years from now) and help maintain a welcome standard of mobility and living.

6) 30 years ago the mobile phone was powered by a brief case, just about made a connection and was the tool of the executive businessman or 'yuppie. Today every one and their hoodie has one and they are set to over take the global population by 2014.

7) 30 years from now the mobile phone will probably be obsolete and consigned to the science museum, replaced instead by a device installed inside the palm of your hand and powered by the biometrics of the human body.

8) The news is no longer news. They tell you what to think about and X-factor is not news. We have moved, over the years, from manufacturing consent to the outright and blatant manufacturing of news.

9) The NHS saved my life at the time of my birth, have worked wonders on me at various points in my turbulent young and physically active life and will no doubt save it before my internal clock stops. A shame then that the way things are going currently, they will be privatised and I will probably not be able to afford the treatment I will no doubt require.

10) A book written 30 odd years or more before I was born, about the year after my birth, called 1984 set the bleak tone for the society that I would grow up in. Since that year, use of CCTV has increased exponentially, with the average UK citizen being captured 300 times a day and now we have drones.

11) I have been able to vote at three previous general elections and if I had known at 18 what I know today then I would never have put an X in any box and be able to stand proud and say that I have never participated in the great democracy con.

12) I have witnessed love and loss first hand and come to realise that death is only for the living, not that this makes it any easier when it comes your way. The key is as in point 3, to make the most of the moments in your life and make them ones to remember.

13) We are all born actors and artists but this is educated out of us as we grow up.

14) The first 5-6 years of your life are some of the most important formative years of your life and you have no control over them, or your experiences.

15) Television is the greatest educator for the majority of people born from the late 1970's to today. I remember my Dad saying: "No wonder we have delinquent kids today if that is the sort of T.V they are watching." And now I find myself thinking the same thing about the T.V my nephews watch. Then I remember I turned out alright (I think) and will ensure my nephews do too. Light the spark of curiosity in children and they will learn on their own.

16) Television has really been replaced by the Internet, a wonderful tool for education and communication.

17) 30 years ago the Internet was a military concept for communication.

18) It still is. They own all the satellites and keep trying to pass legislation to censor our right to expression, speech and education.

19) The longer you live, the more you get to see how society and life works in cycles. By the time I was 19 the War on terror, or rather more accurately the war of terror, was now in it's infancy.

20) The longer you live, the less patience you have with things that previously would have just flown over your head.

21) I remember being 21 and do not remember it being especially great or any different to being 30.

22) Tastes change over time. You can apparently reprogramme your taste buds in 4-6 weeks.

23) I turned 23 in Australia on my first visit there and have been home sick ever since. Depending on how many schooners you are knocking back the thing that strikes you most is the quality of the food, mainly because they do not have to import their fruit and veg, they can grow it themselves.

24) At 24 I finally ventured into a great vocation in life and things were on the up.

25) Australia changed things and over this period of time I began to look at the world with a new set of eyes. The social conditioning box was switched off in favour of Internet documentaries not aired on Sky and the rabbit hole got deeper and deeper.

26) Is said to be the start of your physical prime years and it may be true. I completed the first of what was to be 4 marathons in New York and was a punishing and gruelling endeavour I shall never forget or be matched.

27) The 27 club is full of great artists such as Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, something we are sorely lacking in today's society. Where are the advocates and activists?

28) Turns out that great vocation was just a mirage, clutched straws so to speak, but all's well that ends well. By the time I reached 28 I was 4 weeks in to this very blog and tapped back into my youthful, artful self, aided and abetted by a great woman now in my life.

29) London Marathon 2012, I was wrong about number 26, this was the worst physical experience of my life, far exceeding anything that occurred in New York, made all the more comical by the fact I gate crashed the start.

30) Living in the time of the digital revolution I have managed to create a foot print the size of a small ant and ensure any musings or thoughts can be found many years from now, as long as the energy that powers our devices and the oil that currently makes them last.

Some personal, others more general but none of despair or regret. We are shaped by the moments we make and whilst there may be some that are seated in pain for us all, we should not dwell on them, nor regret them. I await the next 30 years with the intention of living them on my own terms.

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