My birthday is coming up…next week. It’s a zero year. And we all know (for reasons that make absolutely no sense) that zero years are definitely the most significant. It’s as though they usher in new eras of our lives.
I remember looking so forward to achieving 10 years old. Wow that was a biggie. To finally escape the single digits of childhood seemed an immense achievement. I felt so much closer to that coveted state of grown-up-ness. Sure I was still a kid, but in just three painfully long years I would be a teenager…a teenager…that magical time when the rules of kid-dom would expire and new freedoms would be extended me. It took such a long time to get there.
Twenty was fabulous. I was a grown-up at twenty. Newly wed, living in my own flat in the biggest city in the land thousands of miles from parents and siblings, doing the work I dreamed of and looking eagerly to a future I was sure would be filled with success and travel and fame.
By my thirtieth birthday I was the father of two beautiful little girls… but the ‘fame and fortune’ that actually did occur in my twenties was on shaky ground…and my marriage was shaking down with it. My thirties were dirty…the worst decade of my life, filled with struggle and failure and heartbreak and darkness. But still, as they wound down my life began to swing back up. I had a new wife and a baby boy. I could look hopefully forward again.
Then there was forty. Forty…when the firm realization that you have already lived half of your life first casts a serious shadow. What have I achieved? What am I doing? Who am I? What am I?How did I get here?
Why didn’t I think about all of this sooner?
(you were a musician dimwit…the idea was NOT to think about it.)
At forty there were no cop outs; responsibility was all mine. But even though I had a few grey hairs, I still had lots of time, I reckoned. So I dreamed my dreams and filled my days working to support my kids…and waiting. In my late forties my career came back to life…you never can tell.
Fifty. One more kick at the can! Yes I can Yes I can can! Busy busy busy. Gigging again, working, writing. And, oh yes, another marriage bites the dust.
Sixty. This will be my decade I think. Still healthy, lots of energy. I have a new love, kids are grown. Time to travel, screw it all, we’re off to Mexico…two and a half years of ‘no fixed address’, no possessions. Wanna move?…just load the car and drop off the key. Freedom…or as close as it gets.
A change of location…a re-settling…it was my most creative and productive time.
And here I am, one week left in which to be sixty-something. I’m not sure if it means anything but over the course of writing this blog my entire life has flashed before me. (insert ominous note here)
It’s not given to us to know just where we are on the road of life. I still have desires and plans…but fewer expectations, I think. I’m more interested in just seeing what happens. I do intend to continue being the cause of some of those ‘happenings’ of course…what fun would it be otherwise. But beyond that, things will carry on as they are…until they change…which is as inevitable as the sunrise. Should I stumble across any pearls of wisdom along the way perhaps I will share them. Then again, you’ve got to recognize a truth when you see it…and there's the rub…don’t you think?
So here come the seventies.
Strike up the band.