Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Happy birthday to me

It’s my 37th birthday today.
I am now definitely closer to 40 than I am 30 but the thought doesn’t worry me as much as it once would have done. I am finally happy with the direction my life is taking.
I was 30 years old when my life changed forever with the (sort-of) sudden death of my father. It was not just the experience of grief and the gaping hole left in my life that changed me – nor the new-found freedom of having some money (I could have always had money – I chose to spend every penny of my decent salary on “enjoying myself” rather than saving enough to be able to make the change).

The thing that ultimately changed was my outlook on life. I was 30, my dad was 60. So, by my reckoning, I had another three lots of ten years to go – and that was it! And as we all know, every year goes quicker and when I looked back at the last decade, it had passed fast enough. For the first time in 30 years, I realised what life was.

I had always felt a strong element of falseness in my life. Everything I did (when sober) felt like I was acting out a part that I was being forced to play; nothing felt real, everything felt manufactured. I lived in a box, travelled in a box, sat in a box all day then each evening, I worked off my so-called frustrations in a big box that we were allowed to run around in. My only pleasure in life was to be found in the big box of water and even then, I grew angry each time my eyes stung with piss-reactive chlorine and children got in my way as I swam those punishing lengths.

For years, whilst sitting on the bus on my way to work, I would seethe as I watched my fellow passengers numb their tiny brains with word-search puzzles and cheap celebrity-stalking magazines. I would feel a disproportional level of rage towards them – how could they do this every day? Did they actually enjoy it? The hard techno banging its way into my brain, soundless to the outsider due to Sennheiser headphones, served only to remind me what I could be doing if I wasn’t at work.

Stepping off the bus and walking towards the office was a flicker book of images; every word on every sign, poster, scribbles of graffiti had been implanted in my brain the first time I’d seen them and its repetition day after day made my chest tight. Taking a deep breath, I’d slap on the Happy Squires enthusiastic head and cheerfully greet my colleagues whilst casually glancing at the clock to see how late I was. The door would shut as I removed my headphones. Thum! I had entered a soulless vacuum, sucking any life and originality out of me; my head had become encased in metal air and the screws were being turned, tighter and tighter.

So, as you see, I needed to make some changes in my life.

So, taking baby steps, I got rid of the job (then accidentally got another one) then eventually the furniture, house and car. By the time I was 35, I had nothing left in my name other than a mobile phone and a bank account.

Two years on and I’m finally alive. I've got my Timmy, my dogs, my boat and my freedom. I’m living the dream though it feels more real than anything has ever done before. It has taken 36 years to get here but I’m finally on the right track.
I only wish my dad was here to see it.
Birthday card courtesy of my fantastic friends, Gareth and Elaine. They are not insinuating that Tim may have forgotten to get me a present, that I like a drink or that the dogs like cake.

1 comment:

Gareth said...

Happy Birthday - and well said! Furniture? Pah! Career? Pah!

We vomit on Heat magazine, we tweak the nose of normality, and we kick the arse of climbing the ladder.

No God, no Master! FREEDOM!