Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Thoughts Approaching My Next Birthday

I am approaching my fifty-sixth birthday. I think I'm in some kind of denial, except since I know what the denial is about, it isn't really. I'm just not letting myself feel the fear. One friend is on a course of chemotherapy for secondary cancer - you know what that means. He has a thirteen year-old son and with luck may see his boy get to university. Another took early retirement from the Civil Service a few years ago and has let his marbles slip a little. Every now and again I get drunken phone calls from him that are remarkably like the last drunken phone call. Another friend has a permanent struggle to earn consistently as a freelance and a fourth has a headhunting business which has gone through periods of no distributable profits. No-one I know is happy and successful, or even just happy. This is why older people don't stay in touch with each other: the news is rarely good.

I think I'm ashamed of my life, of living in a terraced house in a working-class suburb of Middlesex and working as an analyst in The Bank (the money doesn't suck, but it ain't City salaries either) in a job that's below my personal grade, so that I have to leave in the next couple of years or take a nasty pay cut. I don't have a partner, it's been a very long time since I had sex with an actual woman - the LTR that ended a couple of years ago stopped being intimate way before that. I'm not even sure I want a relationship right now, that the rewards would be worth the effort. I have to watch my weight or my blood sugar will go up again and I don't want to feel or look like that again: so I am constantly worrying about what I eat. I weigh myself and get a body fat reading two or three times a day. I've quit drinking, smoking and I shouldn't even be thinking of eating chocolate, cakes or even bread. Have I mentioned how much I like bread? If I don't eat enough, I get painful constipation: if I overdo it, I get high blood sugar. It's a narrow line I'm eating along here.

I don't feel like going on holiday. Why would I? When I get there, I'm still the same person, and when I get back it's still the same situation. Why would I go away when I can't escape and don't want to come back?

I don't have a pension worth a damn and I have a serious chance of reaching the end of my active life without ever having done anything I really wanted to do. All I would be able to say was that I never gave up the fight. For some time now I've felt like I've stopped living but haven't stopped fighting and I'm not sure what I'm fighting for or why.

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