Well, gentleman, all in all, an experience we’ll remember in our old age… (twinge) …which won’t be for some while, I hope.
— Star Trek (S2E11, “The Deadly Years”)
Don’t know if I’ve said it in this blog before — it’s been going for over seven years now, after all — but however old I grow chronoligically, and however old I seem physically, my mental age tends to vary between seven and 7,000 years — depending upon the situation, whether I’m in a good mood, the month having an “r” in it… and, of course, who (or what) I’m dealing with.
Looking back at when I started writing this in 2012, and as I noted in 2014, I feel like I was reborn after having metaphorically died in December 2011 (or possibly January 2012), thanks in no small part to climbing. 2013 was the year of my second childhood: the American holiday and my discovery of socialising (not to mention actually dating a great deal, perhaps more than anyone else my age), and also the beginning of my proper education in IT terms (after a false start in 2010).
2014 would represent my troublesome teenage years, ending with horrible depression and anxiety as I tried to work and not end up destitute (or worse, doing admin in an office again!), but in 2015 (despite my early symptoms of brain issues) I gradually recovered, and in a way reached adulthood by getting my current job, which, despite a difficult start, made me happy and comfortable in 2016 — in a way, my carefree twenties, and the resumption of my “playboy lifestyle” (playing video games and watching sci-fi instead of attending dinner parties and worrying about bills).
Perhaps due to the symptoms starting to become near-constant in late 2016, the following year feels somehow “lost” to me, and being treated badly by my old housemate or told off at work didn’t help, though perhaps building a new PC (and even making improvements to that) made things tolerable. However, it’s because I took over gathering our household bills in lieu of the housemate that moved out (and before him, the leaderene who lived here when I first moved in) that I feel like I finally reached adulthood, taking responsibility for my quasi-family.
Yes, in a way I’m almost fatherly… though it’d mean the lady who’s lived here almost as long as me (taking the place of a creepy little man who lived in the back room when I first moved in) would count as the mother, even though she and I aren’t involved! Leaving aside our two newest housemates, the thing to note is that “best mate”, since he moved in back in 2015, has been like a son to me — ignoring the too-small age difference!
Then again, “female best friend” at times felt less like a little sister and more like a daughter! But since she’s now married with children, I feel she’s more like a big sister, living a far more mature life and taking care of actual human offspring instead of just handling the tedious calculations, accumulations and payments of rent, council tax and other household bills for the sake of a group of adults who are equally capable. However, since I can’t stand babies, perhaps I’m better off in this situation?
(I know I haven’t made my mother a grandmother, but considering how young our new doggy is, she’s still got a little darling to look after and spoil!)
Despite the cause, it was good to have a lot of 2018 off — more like a career break than retirement — as I recovered thanks to my folks, returned to London thanks to “best mate”, and resumed my job on a part-time basis once they let me. I didn’t feel like this was a return to childhood, but more like reintegration into the community after… well, not a prison sentence, but after a serious operation, obviously — and I was mature enough to be thankful to have a life to return to… sorry, to be thankful to have a life to which to return, too many “to”s!
More recently I’ve needed the help of an osteopath to deal with lower back pains (hence the Kirk quote at the top of this post), and although I’ve recovered from that (much as I recovered from spraining one ankle in early 2013 and the other in late summer 2016), it’s a reminder of the advances of age — not that I’m doomed to disability now, but that I’ve got to take better care of my physical form (even if technically I’m fitter now than I was at school!), including posture and diet.
All this comes together to make me feel like I’ve grown up and been reborn many times over the years — not just in 2012 after the misery of late 2011, but in 2005, after the dismal last couple of months in 2004, when I grew used to living in that cold but tolerable house in the Wood Green area, and was able to enjoy living with “female best friend” (with whom I shared anime shows, such as Macross 7 and X) and the gentleman who, thanks to our years at Caledonian Road, I would one day refer to here as “good housemate”.
I’ve actually started thinking back to those days recently, and how much simpler things were (it was 2006 before I even built a PC of my own, instead of using the half-decent one my folks paid for two years earlier) — though the 2003-4 academic year was also a time of happiness for me (certainly more than my undergrad days), meeting a new group of people for the first time and escaping from the retirement town of Worthing so I could return to university life.
But where am I now? Let’s make some estimates of my mental age…
- Mature enough to handle billing, and take bad companies to task (mid-to-late 30s)
- Man-childish enough to play video games (late teens to late 20s)
- Still in the girl-hunting phase and going on many first dates (mid-to-late teens)
- Getting dating experience, learning from it and hopefully soon finding “the one” (late 20s to early 30s)
- Staying physically fit (early 20s, or possibly mid-life crisis)
- Not wanting to get drunk (pre-teens or mature adulthood)
- Having trouble getting up in the mornings (pretty much any age after pre-teens)
- Feeling the cold and hating noisy people (elderly and retired)
- Believing I’m indestructible and will live forever (either teenager or already thousands of years old)
- Good with computers and willing to learn more (either very old or very young)
- Working in first-line IT helpdesk (20s) but actually enjoying it (60s?)
- Reading Judge Dredd comic strips (early teens, and f*** Bill Maher)
- Listening to Eminem and Gwar (younger than I should be!)
- Remembering Doctor Who in the 1980s (older than I want to be!)
What might be worth noting is that I wonder which generation I’m truly in, and which I should be in — after all, I’m old enough to remember shows from the 1980s and 1990s and reminisce about the days we called home computers “micros”, but I never joined in with my generation’s binge-drinking at school or university, and didn’t watch scary grown-up films, and overcome my fear of them, until my teenage years (including Die Hard and Aliens back in 1992). As I’ve said before, my peers telling me I’m “wrong” just makes me feel right instead!
I’m sure I overheard Chris Evans on the radio one morning (as opposed to hosting The Big Breakfast back in the day) saying that the current younger generation are more likely to become addicted to smartphone games than alcohol! And since I play Pokémon GO every day but hold drink-to-get-drunkers in contempt, maybe I’m with them? I also think gay marriage is okay and that fireworks should be restricted to professional use (JRM opposing this plan makes me like it more), and of course you know I hate cyclists who charge through red lights. All things considered, I’m childlike but sensible, and don’t want to see others get hurt going about their daily business, purely for who they are… maybe because then it’d happen to me.
Funnily enough, the osteopath reckoned I’d been leaning to the left — well, if hating injustice and intolerance gives me lower back pain, stay tuned to this blog: it’s time I performed a hate catharsis, of both old and young varieties, by writing a post about my negative feelings that better expresses them than my late 2013 one, isn’t it?
(Ah, I was angry about cyclists and cabbies running red lights back then, too!)