Facebook can be a curse. Pushing, as I am, towards 30 I tend to be a bit too conscious about my age. So it was with a certain trepidation that I woke last Wednesday as a 29-year-old. But, pleasantries at home out of the way, I could get on with Wednesday as being just any other day which, right now, means working on my thesis.But then Facebook intervened. The social networking site is, ahem, kind enough to alert all of your ‘friends’ on the site to whatever birthdays are on a given day. Combined with that, is the fact that I receive notifications like a text message on my iPhone of any update to my Facebook page. So the birthday wishes came in with an eerie sense of timing. Every time I had managed to switch my attention from my age to my studies, an update arrived. Facebook, it would appear, was laughing out loud at me.
Of course I shouldn’t complain. It is nice to receive birthday wishes and 29 isn’t that old. But it was meant to represent the final year before I become ‘steady’. At least that was the plan. And when I say ‘steady’, I mean settling down, possibly buying a house and, basically, growing up.
But I told myself a couple of years back that there was no need to do certain things at certain times for any reason other than it being the right thing to do. What’s the rush? But the age of thirty still hangs over me ominously.
When I was 19, 30 was very old. It was, I thought, retirement age in football, time to get married, possibly have kids, buy the house, settle down, think about pension plans, all that jazz.
When I was 19 I was in college in Galway, playing football, living for the weekend in Mayo, drinking on the cheap up at the lake in Castlebar and broke. I’m 29 now and all of them still apply, except one. I’ll let you guess which.
Age is, I’m beginning to agree, a state of mind. I know 25-year-olds that have much more ‘steady’ lives than me. And, by the same token, I know plenty of 40 somethings who have a much more carefree life than me. And you know what, they all seem to be happy because they’re doing what they want to do, living their lives by their own rules.
I’m in my last year in my twenties and, yeah, I am not especially looking forward to turning 30. But it won’t be a seismic shift. I won’t suddenly give up the football boots for the golf shoes – although I know plenty who would recommend I do neither, I won’t be trading the pint of stout or cider for a bottle of beer or, by the same token, the couch for the evening won’t appeal more than a lively pub. Well not too lively, loud music gives me a headache these days. Damn, I must be getting old.