How to tell your mid-life crisis to piss off….

I recently found myself on an evening out attempting to chat up a young woman, who upon reflection, was quite possibly young enough to be my daughter. Of course, at this point I’d had more than a few, and as I’m sure we all know a few stiff ones can suddenly make one believe that you’re the funniest and most charming man on the planet. Now this can go one of several ways; they’re either as pissed as you and you end up in bed, (more of which I’ll come to later), they pity you, and put up with the smarmy offensive for a while, whilst hoping that it’ll soon be past your bedtime, or they’ll take the more direct approach and tell you to fuck off.

What is it that makes a man of my age suddenly think that he can still be attractive to someone who was still learning to talk whilst he was starting his first job? I’m sure there are those out there who thrive on this; who still love the thrill of the chase, whilst at the same time worrying about their pension. I’m not one of these people; I can think of nothing worse than being thought of as a ‘dirty old man’, or whatever term is used these days. This has happened to me on far too many occasions though, and more often than not I’ve woken up the next morning, (or afternoon), wondering what the bloody hell I was playing at in the first place. There is nothing worse than that horrible creeping feeling when your mind clears and you realise just what an ageing lothario you’ve become; especially if the other poor individual involved is still asleep next to you. You feel frozen to the spot, unable to move, even though all you want to do is to get the hell out of there. Of course, if you happen to be in your own bedroom, then you’re quite literally screwed.

Can I put this all down to the onset of the fabled ‘mid-life crisis’? Perhaps. I think you do start to panic a lot more about life when you reach a certain age; in fact I know you do. Little problems that you would have once laughed off, ignored or took in your stride suddenly become magnified; it doesn’t matter what it is; it could be work, money, relationships or your appearance. Or it could just be the fact that you’re getting older; and let’s face it, getting older sucks cock. Big time.

This isn’t all about sex; I don’t particularly want to be thought of as some ‘dirty old dog’, clinging onto some lost, halcyon days of youth. Perhaps it’s a fear of commitment; for many years now I’ve never been involved in a relationship with someone the same age as me; the problem is of course that all those people are getting older too. They want to settle down, get married and perhaps have children. It all suddenly becomes very serious and very real; a feeling that your carefree life is now in all probability over. So, you move onto even younger people, and that’s where you start to look silly, and a bit desperate. That’s not to say that I don’t want all of those things; in reality I do, probably more so now than ever before. However, before one can get to that stage there has to be a degree of acceptance; not only of your age and where you are in life, but also an acceptance of yourself as a person. I’ve always had a young outlook on life, I don’t feel any differently in my mind from when I was eighteen, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. However, you have to adapt that young outlook as you grow older; for example, how often do you see a man pushing forty still trying to look like a twenty year old? I don’t think I really try to do that, although, I will confess to growing my hair longer this year in a vain attempt to ‘knock a few years off’ – this has resulted in several different reactions from work colleagues. One told me it made me look younger, the other asked me if I was having a mid-life crisis. I decided to go with the first response and ignore the other; there is no better way to massage my fragile ego than to tell me that I could still pass for thirty. In fact, if anyone reading this actually knows me in real life, perhaps you could just email me, or phone, and just tell me that! Male or female, I’m not that fussed; you’ll make me a very happy man….

Just because you’ve not reached your ideal place in life by your late thirties, it doesn’t mean that you’re a complete abject failure. I know I’m not alone in this; I’m sure there are many of us out there feeling a bit washed up and passed our best; I’m sure it doesn’t have to be that way though. I think the secret is just to relax a bit; don’t take it all so seriously, and learn to come to terms with who you are. In reality, people like you for who you are, regardless of your ability to stay out until 4am every Saturday night, although I think doing that once in a while does you a lot of good. It’s about achieving a certain balance in your life; the fine line between growing old before your time and still trying to look as if you’re a guitarist in a band on the cover of the NME.

Now, until next weekend……

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All that I’ve lost, and all that could have been.

We’re all alone in the end.

I’ve always blamed myself for what happened. Impossible I know, but I’ve always felt responsible. The nagging doubt has always been there, eating away at me inside, refusing to budge, refusing to let me go.

This has always been a huge invisible barrier in my life; even though it’s entirely one of my own making. It has held me back in my career, and it has acted like a white elephant to any meaningful relationship I may have been involved in. It might sound odd to say that I have never minded, or been afraid of being alone. Being an only child makes one used to your own company, even if at times it becomes rather tiresome. After all, we’re all alone in the end.

Has this left me incapable of feeling or showing love? No, I’ve been lucky. There are those who entered my life, those that stayed for a while, whom I have loved. On the other hand, there were those who were never mine to love in the first place; they may have been the deepest, most heartbreaking love of all. The love of your life.

Those moments when the guard comes down are rare these days. I began to fill the empty space by other means; be it drink, meaningless sex or other ill-conceived relationships. This may provide you with some sort of temporary respite, a brief diversion; however the reality is always there waiting for you. You become cold, hard, cynical, almost machine like. Showing emotion becomes a sign of weakness, letting people become too close to you something to be avoided at all costs. You isolate yourself, become oblivious to those around you who care about you, and in time, forget what real happiness feels like.

No man is an island; but you can build a tall, unbreakable wall around that island, constantly checking for possible gaps. Over the years this is bound to take its inevitable toll. You become tired; not only of the constant effort required, but of yourself, and your own stupidity. Surely only a complete idiot would set out to screw up their own life? Who would actively make their existence cold and empty?

It all comes back to guilt; a debt to be paid for that event where the responsibility still hangs like a millstone around your neck.

As I sit and think and write about this, I’m fully aware as to how stupid and self-pitying this must sound. I know that in reality I was not responsible for my Mothers death at such a young age. I know that it was just a complete fluke that on a cold November week in 1993, she caught the flu, possibly off me, that caused what in the end was a sudden, quick and fatal asthma attack. I also know that there was nothing that I could have possibly done to change events. Nothing could have prevented such a tragic, wasteful loss of such a young life.

Stars have their moment and then they die.

I don’t look for sympathy. I’ve never wanted it, or expected it. I’ve never wanted people to feel sorry for me. Despite the words that have gone before, I do not wallow in a pool of self-pity. I have always tried to get on with my life in the best way that I can, quiet and with as much dignity and self-respect as was possible. There are many periods of my life when I do feel happiness. There are those in my life who provide me with support, laughter and unconditional love.

Perhaps that’s enough? Perhaps at the end of the end that is all that really matters.

Random thoughts on the train to work (1)

Damp leaves. Empty streets. Crowded platform. Can’t concentrate. Late train. Sun rises over the fields. Starlings whirl.

Mist begins to clear, although not in my mind. Think about the day ahead – no enthusiasm, no point. I can’t get what I want.

Day dreaming. Rain on train windows. Take me far away from here. Who can save me from myself? Strength is not everlasting, something has to give. Brown eyes, deep sighs. Racing heart. Nervous goodbyes.

From the first I was lost and to the last I am yours. What’s the point of second best?

There’s not another soul in the world I could possibly belong to.

When I’m near you, my heart just won’t be told. Desire, pain and sadness – a continuous raging storm that will never blow itself out.

Like my childhood, I think I could miss you forever. I no longer know anything worth mentioning. Out of the blue, I must shoulder the blame for breaking myself in two.

Ripples, butterflies, driving rain, a hurricane. Life is too short for shyness and guilt. I must let you go, though I love you so.

Life shouldn’t be about “I’m happy, but…..” Always chase the impossible. Something’s in life are worth the chaos that arrives.

My Personal Hell – Valentines Day

All the world loves lovers; all the world loves people in love

I woke this morning with a profound sense of relief. Not for the ‘groundhog day’ existence that I appear to be living at the moment, no, this was far more important – Valentines Day has packed up and fucked off for another year.

For the serial singleton this can be the worst of days. Not only do you have to listen and watch couples acting out some semblance of happiness, (this can be a torture in itself), but you’re also forced to painfully examine the complete balls-up that is otherwise known as your personal life.

Of course, if you’re happily single, then fuck it! It’s a bit like having a get out of prison free card for the day, as well as a much larger bank balance. Things become more complicated when you love someone, but for whatever reason haven’t got around to telling them; perhaps it slipped your mind, or you were too busy watching porn, whatever…. In this situation the anonymous card comes into effect.

I once received a card in the post where the person had spelt my name and address out by using bits of cut up newspaper. This left me in two minds – to begin with, the stalker alarm started to ring; however, even more worryingly, I was fucking impressed by the effort involved, after all, for those who know me, I have got a very long name. Lesson: if you’re going to be an odd ball, at least raise your game – put the work in. What makes this worse is that I recognised the typeface from the various newspapers the she, or he, had used. This probably says more about me than you could possibly ever need to know.

Of all the unhappy people on St Shit’s Day, there are one group of individuals who have my complete sympathy. For those people who find themselves in love with someone already taken this must be akin to going to a twenty-four hour film of your own shit life, in surround sound, and with no popcorn. In this situation one must try to avoid contact with anybody remotely resembling a human being for at least twenty-four hours. This includes all forms of media; do not under any circumstances choose this day of all days to listen to any song that in any way reminds you of anyone that you have even the slightest feelings for. Of course this depends on the lyrical content of the song; for example, if it involves killing, maiming or even just a huge dose of extreme bitterness, you should still keep well away.

I suppose life should be full of little romantic gestures and not saved up for one day of the year when retailers and the media offer up a huge fuck you and forcibly ransack your dignity and your money. Although, who am I to talk about this? A failed career as a hopeless romantic provides me with very little credibility on the subject of love. Still, thank fuck it’s over with for another year and I can return once again to my slightly happier version of miserable.

Lightning does strike twice

Why is it so hard to move away from certain aspects of ones life? As a younger man I found it almost too easy to walk away from anything, be it a person, situation, or both. This may have been forced upon me  at the time, but the fact it that it’s something that I became rather adept at – no attachments, and those that did slip through the net didn’t last too long.

Now as the years have piled upon me and I edge towards an unwanted middle age I find it increasingly hard to let go; even when all my instincts tell me otherwise. I’m not sure anymore if this is just the simple effect of getting older, or perhaps an attempt to cling onto something that doesn’t exist. If the personal events of 2010 taught me anything it was not to let my guard down at any point, to keep focused and detached; to keep moving forward, even if that meant being alone.

Of course, being the idiot that I sometimes find great success at being, I did the complete opposite of that, but then, I’ve never been one to make my life easy for myself, that would be far too simple and dull. Indeed, for some unfathomable reason known only to me, I’ve found great success at fucking my own life up at the drop of a hat; almost like having ones finger permanently glued to the self-destruct button. Of course, the danger is that you not only hurt yourself, but those around you. Those that don’t in any way deserve to get caught up in your own personal Nile full of shit. I possibly come across here as a man who doesn’t care. That premise couldn’t be further from the truth; I do care, sometimes too much. I would burn in Hell rather than set out to hurt those who in truth mean the whole world to me.

Moving on though, letting go; this presents me with more of a problem.

Here, six weeks into 2011, this is not a problem that I want or need, and yet there it is. Holding onto something that you can’t have and will never have can be a painful exercise. A hopeless, unreachable dream; a dream which in reality soon becomes a living nightmare. In time, this wears you down, it leaves you weak, you become careless and unpredictable. So, you look in desperation for a solution; you remove yourself from that situation, you shut yourself away and you rebuild the wall that had previously been smashed to pieces by the most beautiful creature on Earth. You try to start again, to regain some semblance of order in your life; to regain control.

You convince yourself that life will soon begin to flow again if you can overcome the seemingly impossible task of letting go. Time moves on apace, other problems are taking up your time, and you’re almost glad, it’s almost a welcome distraction – something else to worry about, another thing to lose sleep over.

And then…..

Here it comes again. Punching its way like a heavyweight from the back of your mind. The old feelings are still there; of course they’ve never really been away, just covered up like the furniture left standing in an empty house. You’ve tried to let go and then BANG! A situation presents itself and you find yourself slap back in the
middle of the storm – the last thing you wanted to happen has now fucking happened – lightning does in fact strike twice it seems.