India Uncut

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

"Thirty is the new forty"

I was lunching yesterday at Pizza Hut with a sweet young lady related to me by marriage when she suddenly squinted her eyebrows and said, "What's that? Can you hear that noise?"

"What noise?" I asked. I could only hear the music playing in the restuarant, and that had been playing for a while now.

"That screechy noise," she said. A teenager at the neighbouring table picked up her phone and went outside to answer it. My companion and I looked at each other.

And then it hit me!

Well, referring to the kind of grief that assailed me, Louis Menand writes in a superb essay in the New Yorker that aging isn't really all that bad:
The point is that mental and physical development never stops, no matter how old you are, and development is one of the things that make it interesting to be a being. We imagine that we change our opinions or our personalities or our taste in music as we ripen, often feeling that we are betraying our younger selves. Really, though, our bodies just change, and that is what changes our views, our temperament, and our tolerance for Billy Joel. We can’t help it. The chemistry has altered.

This means that some things that were once present to us become invisible, go off the screen; the compensation is that new things swim into view.
He goes on to add that "[w]e may lose hormones, but we gain empathy."

Dude, I want my hormones back! I want to be a mean, lean sex machine, and not sit around empathising with other men with paunches, no longer remembering the words to the songs we used to love, like, um, you know, whatever. Age sucks -- though not with the vigour of youth.

Nah, just kidding, I'm sure maturity's good, though at any given point in time in my life I've thought I was mature, only to realise in hindsight I wasn't. The lessons that time teaches me often seem to have come too late, and I wonder what I will learn tomorrow that I could have used today. The closer I get to being totally comfortable in my own skin, the more the damn skin has to expand. As my aforementioned lunch companion was telling me, mid-life crises happen much sooner these days.

But hey, don't worry about me. I'll just do a funny post or two, a wisecrack here and there, and all will be well with the world again. Easy, no?
amit varma, 12:29 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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