There’s something odd happening to me. In my 31st year, I’ve found that the tired, short-tempered geriatric me is now the norm. And the missing, “fun” me gives me the heebie-geebies.
You know what scares me? Getting old. Not in the traditional “I’m-running-out-of-time-and-I-haven’t-seen-Venice-in-the-spring-on-Contiki” mortal woe. That, I do not mind. I know life has no real point and whatever time we’re granted is luck, and what we do with that luck is ultimately meaningless. I’m cool with all that. But what I’m not cool with is behaving old.
Churlish, cranky, impatient, intolerant; a flock of personality albatrosses that seemed so foreign to me, but also have adjusted their flight plans over my station.
Soon after deciding to arrest my development by living in my grandparents’ basement, I became familiar with the routine of my grandfather, and became aware that I’d like very much to not much make this routine my own. Don’t get me wrong, I love him, but he wears his anti-Customer Service, pro-cantankerous mantra like a label pin with a flag on it – a man who swears his allegiance to Tom Clancy and rereading news headlines aloud, offering his one-sided opinion to anyone within earshot, the arbiter of every conversation, full-stopping every sentence, not matter who begun it.
The thing we most had in common, was nothing. But no longer, because my metamorphosis had already begun.
My temper runs uncontrollably, nerves shorn down to the nub by the fractional inconvenience of a thousand meaningless situations. I’m forever in a rush, especially when I have nowhere in particular to go. I need to sit down, get a coffee, read my book and not be disturbed.
I remember that not too long ago my patience was a deep reservoir of limitless resource; it’s now an arid dustbowl. Every minuscule delay is a towering crisis, an inferno that wrings the most audible of click of my tongue as my mind runs with comments I previously never put much stock in: Do your job. Now I’m going to be five minutes late.
People see it too, as I believe my face sits at the default of Resting Pop Face. My temper runs uncontrollably, nerves shorn down to the nub by the fractional inconvenience of a thousand meaningless situations. I’m forever in a rush, especially when I have nowhere in particular to go. I need to sit down. I need to sit down, get a coffee, read my book and not be disturbed. When I leave the house, I feel myself wanting to go home. When I’m at home, I want to leave. It’s strange. I criticise the lives of people who are happy. I feel like I’m just angry for anger’s sake.
I became familiar with the routine of my pop, and became aware that I’d like very much to not much make this routine my own. The thing we most had in common, was nothing. But no longer, because my metamorphosis had already begun.
I will admit, full disclosure, that at 31, the fatigue of life is wearing me down. I have all my limbs and my health but no drive to make the most of it. I take work far too seriously, I’m tired regardless of how much sleep I get. I shirk social engagements for time to myself, but somehow, when that time is complete, I feel like I’ve wasted it. I wanted to be the fun old man, like Donald Sutherland in Animal House, the dope smoking, student-jousting academic – or at the very least, the pop who laughs a lot, and produces varying denominations of currency from behind the ears of grandchildren – but it seems not.
I’m like some sort of prepubescent geriatric reverse werewolf. The promise of the day and the vibrant, well-meaning rays of the sun set me off. In daylight hours, I am changed, so I tear down the street, snarling subsonic howls of criticism, looking to feast on the raw flesh of any who encounter me. Only when I lay my wolfish head on my pillow and rebuke the sexual advances of my partner, because it’s already 10 o’clock, do I find inner peace. As long as someone doesn’t wake me up.
So, I suppose there is no conclusion. I’ve made an effort to curtail this behaviour previously, but that’s the thing that strikes me; it’s now an effort to return to the fun me, the normal me, the one that the village won’t group under the light of flaming torch to drive a stake through my furry heart for the greater good.