Saturday, October 07, 2006

Old school

"Well now we're respected in society
We don't worry about the things that we used to be
We're talking heroin with the president
Well it's a problem, sir, but it can't be bent
Uh yes!
Well now you're a pillar of society
You don't worry about the things that you used to be
You're a rag-trade girl, you're the queen of porn
You're the easiest lay on the White House lawn"
- 'Respectable,' The Rolling Stones

I popped to Kingston today, mainly because I'd seen some cushions that I thought would go lovely with my sofa; chocolate brown, £7 each, and three for the price of two. Bargain.

Then I thought...

I used to be so hardcore, and now I'm all about the soft furnishings. When did that happen?

I've been thinking about time, recently. Even more so since last night's badminton - it brought back a lot of memories from years ago. Y'see, I first started playing badminton with those people when I was at school; we all met at a badminton night class I ended up going to when I was... 16? 17? Gosh. Those were the days; I loved my days in the sixth form - good friends, dedication to the specific subjects I adored. Good times.

Easier times, in fact.

And then the years sort of slip by without you actually paying any attention ... and I'm wondering at what point I stopped being the carefree 16 year-old and became the 28 (neeeeeearly 29) year old with responsibilities. A different life, and maybe a different person?

(And don't anyone post a comment saying "when you turned 17," thank you)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing my life now. I love it: I'm physically fitter than I've ever been, I've got a wealth of experience behind me, interests and hobbies I would never have considered before, and I've got the most amazing bunch of friends I could possibly hope for (many, like Sweatband, Yaz, Mr Chunt, Marcosy, Comics pal Graham, and El Deanio who I've met through work, as well as you out there in bloggerland too – you know who you are). You could say I've become the sort of person that I was trying to be all those years ago.

And yet...

You'll laugh, but one of the most profound things I've ever heard came from Star Trek (and no, it was not "fire photon torpedoes," although that is also quite profound now that I come to think about it):

"Have we two, you and I, grown so old ... and so inflexible ... that we have outlived our usefulness?"

That sentence struck a chord with me the first time I heard it, for some reason, and it's still with me now. I became an editor when I was young - about 21, in fact. I've never really told anyone this, but at the time I didn't feel ready, and in the back of my mind I always thought I'd have the excuse that I was too young to be in such a position of authority - running a team of people, with deadlines and all that grown-up stuff - if I needed it. I didn't, but it was reassuring to know it was an option. And now it's not there anymore.

And now I'm seeing young(er) people coming up in similar roles, and I don't feel unique anymore, yet I don't feel older, and I still have my dreams to fulfill, and I'm not ready to pass the torch because this, here and now, is still my time (Raaaah!).

You can never go back, can you? And if you could, would you want to?

I suppose I'm rallying against the constrictions that being grown-up places on us. The nine-to-five, the bills, other people's expectations, etc.

Because sometimes you just feel like you want to go climb a damned rock, huh?

So this has all been kinda serious, huh? Sorry, I just thought I'd write it because it seemed like it'd been in my head for a while. Maybe this'll exorcise it. I don't know.

(Whoa! My iTunes is *SO* catching my 'nod-to-the-past' vibe! Steve Winwood - 'Higher Love'? BRING. IT. ON!)

As for the post heading, well, I think that has something to do with the fact that it's been 10 years since I left school, and that seems like quite a momentous occasion because in the intervening years everything has changed. Do you know, I barely know anyone I went to school with anymore. And if I did see anyone, I might try to pretend that I didn't know them. I've always said that if there was a school reunion I wouldn't go for the sheer fact that if I wanted to be in touch with those people I would've made the effort to stay in touch with them. That and the fact that I don't feel like I have anything to prove. I've survived out here in the world and I've made my mark, however big or small it may be.

Maybe I should've called this post 'Defiance'?

Anyway, so there's no punchline to this. No gag. But I kinda hope you get where I'm coming from. Because too many people use excuses such as being "too old" and "can't be bothered" to stop them from exposing themselves to new and exciting things.

Yeah, kid, you might be a stock market whizz kid, but do you know how a warp plasma conduit works? No, I didn't think so.


Dinah said...


I really really liked this post. Very very much. I'm going to think about it some more.

Miss T said...

Yeah, this is something that has been weighing on my mind a lot lately too. I think it's the age, you know? Almost 30... and there's a bit of a mental barrier there. Almost 30 year olds are supposed to be like this, this and this. But that's just bullshit pressure that no one needs.

You've obviously got a lot to be proud of, you've achieved a quite a bit at an early age. But there's always going to be some younger person somewhere with either something to prove or an axe to grind.

I guess it's finding that balance between laughing at the malarkey and accepting a new phase.

I agree though, inflexibility is the highest form of arrogance. The minute you think that there's nothing more you can learn on a subject/life, that's the moment you do become irrelevant.

And sometimes you just gotta say:


Miss T said...

or SECOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

What a great post. I have so much that I could say but I'd end up wittering, so I'll say this: It will always be your, or my, or their time.

Perhaps passing - no, sidestepping 30, after all I'm twentyeleven - has taught me that some things are inexorable (I just wanted to use the word - I don't if it fits). Except losing our uniqueness. We'll always be that.

Miss T said...

Well said, IDV. Uniqueness is what makes you cringe as a teenager, but stand out from the crowd as an adult.

I think inexorable is a great way to describe things, actually. It's inexorable how damn cool we all are!

That wasn't right, was it?

Tim said...

Wow - I'm glad you all liked this post! I was a bit hesitant about putting it up because it was all a bit stream of consciousness, but then I thought 'bugger it.'

I agree with what you say, Miss T, about what you're supposed to be like aged 30; who says we need to act or be a certain way just because a number dictates it? I read a great quote from the actor Brent Spiner who said that he thought the best actors were children in a playground because they throw themselves into the role of, say, a power ranger or Superman without thinking about what other people think of them.

I think maybe we should all try to do something rather childlike every now and then. And I don't mean wear nappies and crap ourselves.

Inexplicable Device - you witter on as much as you like - it is, after all, our time!

And isn't inexorable a great word? Exciting and frightening all at the same time...

Miss T said...

I completely agree with the comment you made about being childlike. There's nothing wrong with a good belly laugh or some nonsense.

As for this whole 'you should do this and act like this at this age', I blame games like The Game of Life and stupid people who just blindly do stuff without ever really questioning where they are going, or what they are doing.

skillz said...

One of my favourite quotes:

"People change. Hairstyles change. Interest rates fluctuate." - Top Secret

Great post, totally agree with you. I've been going through a massive introspection phase recently and I think my life has permanantly changed.

Tim said...

Miss T - So... you're blaming Hasbro for defining the way we should live our lives? That sounds about right, actually... let's form an angry mob!!!

Skillz - There seems to be some kind of introspection plague sweeping the nation at the moment! I hope your introspection has led to a good permanant change? If not, I'm sure it's not SO permanant that you couldn't change it again!!

skillz said...

My change is nothing serious... just the realisation that there's no such thing as Free Will or a soul, that civilisation is a load of bollocks, that we're all just chimps riding around on unicycles and that everything I ever hoped for in life is never gonna happen.

skillz said...

Oh, and it's not just the introspection plague that's spreading, it's ear trouble too. I've had pressure changes in my right ear for ages, and your post (plus recent hearing trouble) finally convinced me to see a doctor. Apparently I've got some sort of bubble in there and I've got to take pills and a spray to get rid of it!

Tim said...

DUDE! That's a defeatist attitude!! Although I like the chimps on unicycles thing... Where was I? Oh, yes! If you believe in, it will happen, la-dee-da!

You are not your grande latte.

You are not your swedish furniture.

You are not your f-BLEEEEP-ing khakis!

(I got quite a lot out of Fight Club)

Whoa! A bubble? In. Your. Ear? Crikey! I tried a hopi ear candle today - more on that later...!

skillz said...

Fight Club rules. Whenever we're on the tube and are standing up, we always hold onto the overhead bar and say "Is THAT what a real man is supposed to look like?" at the adverts on the top.

Tim said...

Hey! We're not. Supposed. To. Talk. About it!

Miss T said...

He ehehehehehe. Fight club. Best movie ever.

This is your life. It doesn't get any better than this!

Oh, and yes. You may refer to Hasbro as the evil empire. Because their erm CEO is a Sith Lord. Oh god, I really am a nerd. Help me, Tom Cruise!

Tim said...

The thing is... I quite like my grande Misto (not quite a latte, but I think it still counts).

I quite like my swedish furniture...

I can take or leave khakis... actually, leave 'em - I'm a baggy jeans sorta guy.


Damn! I'm talking about it again!

Dinah said...

Help me, Oprah Winfrey!

Tim said...

Ha ha ha!!! Are we inviting Oprah to Fight Club? I bet she'd be well hardcore!!