Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Age shall, of course, wither us, but we'll continue in denial

I was at a wedding earlier this month with some of my favourite people, one of whom was (duh) getting married.
It was everything it needed to be. The wedding itself was gorgeous; sincere and lovely and just so HAPPY but loads of fun too (Depeche Mode to come back down the aisle to, anyone?).
Three-line-whip get-togethers of the whole gang are relatively rare nowadays, so there was a Mexican wave of a cheer every time the next familiar face arrived. And - maybe significantly in the context - the various offspring had all been left at home, so we were in utter party mode, and also, for twenty-four hours, able to pretend to be the irresponsible yoofs we'd once been.
I was in the car today and looked up at the date, and thought, 'blimey, Tim's birthday tomorrow - is he 41 or 42 now?'. And then I remembered that, whilst I'll almost certainly associate the Glorious Twelfth with Tim, he's not around to have any more birthdays. It seems impossible, just impossible; perhaps all the more so because he was someone I didn't see much of recently, so I don't notice his absence on a daily basis the way I know others do.
Whilst I was thinking about this, and almost resenting the fact that we can be old enough to have friends who've died (and I know that I've just been extraordinarily lucky, really, to get to this age without bad shit happening before) I remembered something that one of our gang had said at the wedding. We'd been doing the usual, 'what's the next excuse for a party?'. Since most of us are married at this point (and happily, so second weddings aren't in the offing as the festivity-provider), it's likely to be the rash of fortieth birthdays that start for us next spring.

'Forty?' said K.; blonde, beautiful and several years younger than us (married into the clan, and we're very glad of her). 'None of us are old enough for that to be happening. Forty's'.

I don't know whether this is related to the one semi-coherent point Tony Parsons made, in Man and Boy, when he observed that our post-war generation hasn't had to work at anything so it doesn't know how to do anything but live in perpetual youth. Maybe that's part of it, but we looked around. Amongst the dozen or so of us, we'd experienced what's probably the normal amount of life stuff; serious illnesses, a couple of football-teams' worth of kids, redundancy, fertility issues. None of those things was tackled lightly, or could be anything other than adult in nature.

But K. was right. We still don't feel old enough.

1 comment:

Rebecca Emin said...

I can completely relate to your sentiment. Sounds like a fantastic wedding too!