I was sat in the evening sun catching up with a mate in her back garden when she hit me with it. In her lovely but brutal scouse accent. “Fookin hell mate, you’ve got a few grey hairs on top there lad!”
I had noticed them a few days before to be honest, and they were noticeable. More than just a stray one. Five or six. And now someone else had noticed. This was bad. I put it down to a short period of stress, or that heavy weekend in Ibiza, but there is the distinct possibility that just as I am about to turn 33 I have to accept that I am also going grey.
That is a lot to take in. I’ve never been that fussed about getting old, perhaps one of the reasons I seem to struggle to grow up. But grey hairs. I’ve not taken it well I’m afraid dear reader.
Combined with my 33rd birthday looming, the anxiety seems to be building. 33 isn’t old. But it certainly isn’t young. It feels worse than 32 somehow. At 32 my 30th seemed like yesterday, my 20s weren’t much beyond that. 33 is heading right into bowels of the thirties.
Things are probably not helped by the fact I don’t own a house, my love life is non existent and I am somewhat carelessly pursuing a freelance career to enable me to actually do work that I want, as opposed to have to. The archetypal “millennial” wasting his life away. In the words of Don Draper…
I saw a tweet recently that resonated. It was something along the lines of “Aged 29, I’m beginning to regret all those pacts I made with my female friends about getting married if we were still single at 30.”
And it’s true. I was chatting to friends about it recently, although I think there is an acceptance that people’s stages of life have perhaps got a little later, we don’t all get married in our early 20s like our parents did. At the same time, there is still a societal pressure, to a point, to be at a certain stage in life by a certain age. I know lots of my female friends have said when they were a teenager they envisaged being married with a house and children by the their mid to late twenties. Instead they’re still throwing Jager bombs and twerking in the local Slug & Lettuce, like me.
And to an extent it’s the same for men. Perhaps the pressure is not quite as bad, or not quite the same, but I think it’s still there. We might not have the proverbial biological clock ticking but I think there is an expectation to have a certain level of income, to be a home owner and be in a relationship. I have experienced it myself. I have a lot of wonderful friends, all of which are at different stages of their lives, but a lot of whom are in relationships, “settled down” in some form or another. And I often sense a very well meaning, almost motherly and therefore slightly irritating concern for me and the fact I don’t appear to be in the position they are. Surely that must make me unhappy? Am I concerned I haven’t settled down yet? Well it hadn’t, until you kept talking to me about it mate! I appear to evoke an unusual level of interest in my love life and situation compared to my other friends. They question why I have rejected yet another poor soul on “bumble” because she looks “too outdoorsy.” And laugh with slight despair at my latest desperate, student like, throwaway sexual encounter.
It’s all very sweet. But not everyone is the same. People’s lives are at different stages. However many grey hairs they have.
I try to comfort myself, as always with Baz Lurman’s Sunscreen Song. And in particular the lines…
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.
Some people have the bible. I have Baz Lurman’s Sunscreen Song.
So what to do about it? Well, I am thinking I might need to start going regularly to an expensive hairdresser in the hope that a very stylish haircut might look good even in grey. I’m also consoling myself with the fact I would rather go grey than bald. I’d look like I had two months to live if I had to shave my head.
And turning thirty three with very little to show for it? Well, the world’s fucked anyway isn’t it? So let’s put on our classics and have a little dance shall we?