Yesterday, a friend said I could stay with him in Oxford when I’m gigging there in late Jan (details tbc, keep your eyes on the gigs page poetry lovers!). Without really thinking I replied with the single phrase “wickedy-woo-wah.” I used to be cooler than this. Yet these days I seem to take delight in being as cringe-worthy as I can.
I also used to care about my appearance. Yet now I write this wearing yesterday’s shirt which has baby snot on one shoulder, tomato sauce down the front and, on the other shoulder, a rare sort of paste formed from ginger biscuit and baby dribble. I’ve also shaved all my hair off because “I can’t be fucked.” Some days I feel sort of retired; that I’m over the hump of middle age and slowly drifting towards a mediocre dotage. I’m 29 for fuck’s sake!
Actually, that may be the problem: 29. I’ll be 30 in two weeks. In my mind I’ve substituted “30” for “dotage.” I realise that this is preposterous and I should stress this not a crisis. I mean, I’m not sad about it or anything. I’m just aware that something is ending. I think with one child you can in some ways carry on living a version of the life you had before. Now with the second child imminent, due only a few weeks after my 30th birthday, I think the sub-conscious I usually do so well to suppress is trying to tell me my youth is truly over. And there’s nothing awful about that. I’ve had a good innings.
In fact I’ve spent the last few years embracing the sort of life one settles into in their thirties: marriage, mortgage, countryside, children. But now with the inevitability of time stacked against me I do have the slight twinge of losing something I shall miss. An almost-feeling that I shouldn’t have rushed to kick my twenties into touch. Ach, ’tis nothing but nostalgia I suppose, and at least I am ahead of the game in terms of being thirty. Still I shall miss those years of starting out and lying in. And besides, no one is making me pile on the pounds and say “wickedy-woo-wah” – sometimes I’m just a bit of a nob, and I doubt age can do anything about that.