Thursday, 23 April 2009

Once more around the Sun.....

It's my birthday. I'm 46 years old today. 46. God's Teeth - how did I get old enough to be a grandmother? When did my life all happen without me noticing it? The fact that I am now nearer 50 than 40 is both exhilarating and terrifying. Being Mrs Archaeology-head I am, of course, aware that in earlier centuries I'd probably be dead by now (and, actually, I've done a pretty good job of nearly being dead in the 20th century) so I am eternally grateful that I was born when I was and that the NHS exists.

Like practically everyone else (and, yes, it will happen to you too), I envy the young their youth, it really is wasted on them but then again, I wasted mine so perhaps that's what it's for. I miss that carefree self-centred existence where, in reality, considerations such as a having a roof over your head, food to eat and bills that have to be paid do not impinge on the really important things such as trying to look like Kate Moss (or a hybrid Siouxsie Sioux/Marilyn Monroe in my case), how to look cool while smoking or how to attract the attention of the beautiful floppy-haired public schoolboys you're at sixth form with.

As for the benefits of getting older (apart from not being dead), I'm sure there are some and if I think hard enough they might appear to me. Let's see - I know I have been on this planet long enough to have accumulated a little knowledge about quite a lot of things and a great deal of knowledge about a handful of things. Probably none of which is of much interest to anyone but me. I really enjoy learning which is something I have definitely grown into. My teenage years and early 20s were so full of upheaval and externally-inflicted angst that it took me until my 30s to finally hear the seductive siren call of a University library and to discover the sheer unalloyed joy of writing an essay comparing the social contexts of burial barrows during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages in Wessex. Bliss.

I have finally grown out of listening to Radio 1. Radio 3 is where it's at for me, Daddio.

I have rediscovered the pleasure of allotment gardening. I know exactly how that sounds, or at least, how it used to sound but it does seem that, for once, I'm in front of the zeitgeist on this one. I've had my allotment down the road for about 14 months now but had been growing vegetables in my tiny garden for a few years before. Actually, this isn't strictly an age-related thing with me - I had an allotment in my mid-20s when I lived with The Artist in Guildford but I had to drive to it (I can walk to my current one), I was working full-time in an office (which I'm not now so have more time) and I could never get anyone to give me a hand (P will come along if I beg and plead) so it only lasted a couple of seasons before I gave it up. There is a deep visceral pleasure in sowing the seed, Nature growing the seed and us eating the seed. Plus being outside in the open air can only be beneficial (except when it's raining and I have to hide in the shed). Anyway I have a different blog about it for all your allotment growing needs.

I've always 'enjoyed' animals (if that's the right word) and have always stopped to speak to any cats that I find but now, as I've got older I find myself doing things like actively feeding the garden birds, to the extent that we now have a resident pair of collared doves and a robin who will eat from your hand (we also occasionally get rats who come for the bird food but we'll just skip over that, shall we?) It thrilled me no end to discover that birds are actually the descendants of dinosaurs so, to me, what I'm really doing is feeding miniature velociraptors.

This all comes from my nurturing side, the side that won't be a mother and won't ever be a grandmother. I enjoy looking after stuff, feeding it, cosseting it and in the absence of children, this is the best I can do. In an ideal world I would have a smallholding with a whole menagerie of beasts to poke and fret over, but in the world I have to live in, I don't think I do too badly on the whole.

I'm not sure what the point of this post is now. It kinda started off on a reflection of age and ended up being about dinosaurs - I get so easily distrac....ooh, cake!


JoeyJoJo said...

Nice to find you and happy birthday. As my husband Ricardo wrote on a friends mother's birthday card, "This is the youngest you'll ever be."

Jana said...

I've gotten here via Antonia, and look forward to reading more! Happy birthday. I think 46 sounds like a particularly wonderful age.

Mrs Jones said...

Hello JoeyJoJo - nice to have been found! Although what Ricardo says is obviously true, I'm not sure it's particularly comforting!

Hello Jana - Age is, obviously, one of those things we can do nothing about (except lie) but it always catches me out, every year, just how old I've got...