Jim Auton: Professional Cynic #4 – growing middle aged disgracefully

Jim Auton: Professional Cynic #4 – growing middle aged disgracefully

I’ve just turned 40. As sure is eggs is the generic thumbnail for Twitter avatars, the sands of time are disappearing through my fingers. If I blink for too long I will be 50.

I must have done too much sleeping as I was 30 a minute ago and it basically felt like I was putting one foot in the grave then, like all melodramatic boobies mourning the death of their youth.

People say life begins at 40 and perhaps they’re right, I do feel like I’m regressing rather than growing old gracefully.

It does appear there’s every chance the fifth decade of my existence on this planet might actually be the most enjoyable. Theoretically you are financially stable, or at least more so, you’ve settled down and married (maybe for the second or third time so maybe you’ve finally got it right), you have passed the point where trends matter to you, but you’re not too old to enjoy new bands and gigs but you might need a lie-in (morning off) and an early night the next day with a mug of milky tea. A can of Coke and a ciggie the next morning does not make you right as rain anymore.

Besides, some of the best didn’t hit their peak until their forties. Kerouac wrote Desolation Angels in his forties, Shakespeare wrote Othello when he was 40 (depending on sources but close enough for jazz), and Paul McCartney created his magnum opus, We All Stand Together (The Frog Chorus) in his early forties. You clearly hit your creative peak when the big hand reaches 4.

Regardless of the ever moving boundaries for classification as a “millennial” if you were born in the very early 80’s and you can remember Johnny Briggs, Simon and the Witch, Grotbags, Zammo have a drug overdose or Nik Kershaw’s bonkers Flock of Seagulls-cum-mullet on Top of the Pops, then you are not the same millennial as anyone born in 90’s. The world changed unrecognisably in the lead up to the millennium and since then it’s virtually a different planet. Virtually being the operative word.

It’s been the birth of social media in the late 00’s that has meant there has suddenly been a requirement for labels. Some good and some bad.

But when did everything suddenly need a tag, a special title that meant everyone was in a special group? Because calling people (incorrectly) “boomers” because they are over 30 and disagree with an opinion isn’t helpful. When did “be kind” stop being a hashtag? Yes, it works both ways and the youth of today don’t have it easy but when have they ever? Each generation think they’ve had it worse so who is winning right now?

I’m not going to start banging on about how social media has created this toxic wasteland of bile and hatred (again) but whilst the world is striving for diversity and equality, segregation based on your age and birth date seems like another little box to stick another section of society into for the sake of….what…being right, laughing at the older generation, ignoring their point of view?

I am fully aware that I now sound like an old codger but when you reach the landmark birthday that you can remember your parents reaching, you start looking down the barrel of your own mortality and appreciate that you are closer to 60 than 20 now.

I suppose the point is that despite being this age, as each generation gets to this stage of life, the younger at heart they are. I may be a curmudgeonly bastard but I’ve been a miserable fucker since my early twenties and therefore nothing much has changed. I have no children, I have some disposable income, and buy records and clothes when I want, I drink when I want, I go to bed when I want, I go to gigs when I want. I’m 18 again.

So, no, I’m not a fucking boomer. Just like you all aren’t an annoying little spuggy twat under the age of 25.

You’ll be this age one day. And you’ll find it as hard to believe as me.

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