Yesterday, I had orbited the Sun 30.977 times. Today, I have orbited the Sun 31 times. The sense of elation at having been centrifuged around our closest star so often, of having been alive through what has been an essentially charmed life is interspersed with deep disappointment at the meaninglessness of the mind boggling numbers surrounding my age.
Should the fact I have witnessed 11322 days and nights (actually there was a while in 2004 after a particularly untidy break-up where I mostly saw evenings, and then through a haze) be of any consequence to me? 271,728 hours, mostly of waiting for trains, buses or my girlfriend. 978,220,800 seconds, ticking noisesomely on my much treasured swatch, have passed since I was wrested from my mother and succumbed to life.
Not every tick of my pretty little wristwatch passed me by, of course. Bulls have in the past been grabbed by the goolies, diems have been carpéd, so to speak. The path of true love has run smoother than I might have had resaonable cause to expect – which is to day I have an iPad, a MacBook Pro and the latest update to Formula 1 racing games, and if my headphones are in I can’t hear women denouncing me.
I have fought and won elections – happily, the only one I ever lost was for Secretary of my school’s debating society. I have supported others in elections. This was more a mixed bag. Rosaleen McDonagh was not elevetated to an Seanad Éireann. Kenneth Clarke did not become leader of the Conservative party on any of the occasions I offered my support, but William Hague did, and let’s face it, I picked a good ‘un with Cameron.
Abiding obsessions abide, as abiding obsessions tend to do. I still revel in tautology, I still listen with awe to Robert Palmer, and I still program in BASIC when I get the chance. I recently rediscovered a love of cycling, and re-rediscovered my joy at going a little too fast to be completely safe – the 45km/h barrier was broken briefly yesterday morning, when I still cycled as a thirty year old.
I have rejected religion, assuming any philosophy which asserts the existence of anything more significant than myself to be not worth the candle by which its icons are illuminated. In place of God I established the higher churches of cricket and rugby – no match of either I have ever listened to on the radio has been lost by England. Both sports I was given the opportunity to excel at while at school – both sports I was unambiguously fucking terrible at.
I took some good advice. More often than not it was ‘fuck off’ but sometimes it was weightier, things like ‘wait for the green man’ or ‘take a couple of weeks off University so nobody actually shoots you’. Once it was ‘even people like you can get a shag at NUS or USI’. I ignored some brilliant advice. Brian McLaughlin, then my PE teacher, told me ‘keep exercising or you’ll get fat’. I stopped exercising and I got fat. I ignored some crap advice. Someone told me to get into IT.
I still haven’t learned to drive, though I’m taking lessons. I still haven’t finished the book I started almost three years ago.
But all in all, taking a holistic view, with a due sense of perspective, taking everything into account, in the round, at the end of the day, all things being considered, it’s been good. My family and those not disgusted to be counted friends have been frequently wonderful – they, and probably you, have made individual seconds, minutes, hours and days so glitteringly wonderful that all my immediately available memories are of happy events filled with laughter, schadenfreude or martinis. Let’s have some more, and let’s see how they mix.
Next year in Jerusalem.