It occurred to me today, when describing a customer in his early thirties to my boss as 'young', that my position on such things has changed. People in their late teens and early twenties are now 'kids', and anyone up to about thirty-five is 'young', and (this one I've felt for a while) I really can't wait to be sixty. I think age became something desirable when I was about ten (and very naive) and my wonderful aunt turned fifty. She had a huge party, most of which I spent in a bedroom/bunker with my favourite cousin, trying to stop our little cousin from wandering out into all of the iniquity. Every time the bedroom door opened, another shock awaited us; an uncle on his knees in front of a dancing aunty, somebody swearing, and then, unholiest of holies, when we were brought out to sing happy birthday and saw the birthday cake - a penis, complete with curly black pubic hair. Amidst cheers, the birthday girl licked it, and I knew that growing up was going to be Fun Fun Fun. Said aunt has always made me feel like the second half of life was the great bit. Her life has never been easy, and she continues to face things some people would only experience in a foreign/Lars von Trier film, and she still works like a demon at whatever she does. But she makes being older seem like a reward; she enjoys people, lets them know what they mean to her, lets her hair down, cooks huge curries for her grandchildren, and spends most of her time with my wonderful uncle.
When I look back at my early twenties I feel as if I'm about as grown up as I could ever hope to be, but then something happens and I realise, with disappointment, that I'm still a way off being done. I don't know how I'll know I'm there; maybe the day I bother ironing my whole shirt even though only the collar will be showing.
It's still two months until my birthday but I have started to get very excited. Very excited indeed.