There are no great revelations to be found in turning 42.
The shock of entering your forties has been and gone and the horror of entering your fifties is far enough away as to be attributable to someone else. You are even spared the tipping point of your mid-forties where you inevitably are about to tumble into older age as you watch the promise of your lesser digits disappear into the background.
At 42 you are simply marooned in the netherworld of your mid-life.
Of course, you hope it is your mid-life as there are no guarantees. Part of you is amazed that you even got here, whereas the other part just hopes that you have just as much time left to make amends for the fuck up you have already laid behind you. Time is starting to feel a little short. There is a mounting pressure that, at some point in the future, time is going to kick you in the arse and that you should really achieve some good shit to help abate that feeling when it comes. To be honest, this has provided a focus; a keen sense of things my younger years did not provide. The threat of the threat of impending death is a great coach. It pushes you hard. The say that your forties are the years in which you do and I understand why. You are alleviated of all the bullshit of your impetuous younger self, are far enough away from the mistakes of your youth to be no longer dictated by them and you are terrified of the imminent arrival of hopeless and crushing senility.
That is, if it hasn’t already arrived.
I don’t know where I pictured myself as 42, probably didn’t picture myself anywhere at all. I remember once meeting up with an ex who told me that she was surprised to see me at the place we had bumped into each other, as she most likely expected to see me in the gutter. Or dead. It was a moving reunion and highlights my feeling that I probably have not taken the worth of my life as seriously as I sometimes should have. Do I know? I don’t know, don’t feel that is an answer I can honestly give at this time and the validity of my response is probably best left weighed up by my future self, looking back over his shoulder.
What I do know for certain at 42, is that life goes one; relentlessly and with little regard to the plans of lanky Welshman. There is no pause, no reprieve, just the endless and raging torrent of life. There is little room for complaint, tears of regret or the ruminations of a negative mind. Once you have agreed to get into the boat, there is very little justification in complaining about the waters you are on. They are what they are, you are in the boat, you cannot get off and you probably look stupid in your life jacket. If you’re lucky enough to have one.
At some point the ride will be over, you’ll be drenched and, depending upon that which you believe, you will either be greeted by some fantastical version of dry land, some hellish version of dry land or nothingness.
At 42, with no certainty of what lies ahead, I wonder which will feel the more preferable when I arrive there.
For now, all I know is that I’m in the boat.
That is all.