Monthly Archives: October 2017

The mental age

I’ve been thinking lately about age. It occurred to me rather suddenly that I am now officially of ‘middle age’ – probably a little past the middle if I’m honest with myself. However that’s just the physical me, my chronological age. The ‘I’ in my head is somewhere around twenty five years old and he is just as real as the somewhat scuffed body he occupies.

That line of thinking brought with it a question; have my chronological and consciousness ages always been different or did they only start to drift in my mid-twenties?

Thinking back, I can’t remember a time in my early childhood where I felt older or younger than my age, I was a kid and every now and again a Birthday would roll around and I would count myself one year older. It was really pretty simple. I had no concept of age really other than to think that everyone taller than myself, was ‘old’.

My teens were spent wishing I was older. I remember that very clearly. I just wanted to be finished with school and the awkwardness of puberty and I desperately wanted to be able to drive a car. No one on this planet could possibly have wanted it more. Driving represented freedom and control of my own destiny and being able to play my own music on the car radio.

Oh, and I wanted to grow my hair. It was the eighties after all where every rockstar at the time had long hair and I wanted that more than anything too – except of course for being able to drive. But there, I always still felt my age, albeit in excruciating detail – by that I mean I was seventeen for what felt like an entire decade. True story.

I guess the argument could be made that the ‘I’ inside was actually younger than my physical age during those teenage years. Plenty of poor choices were made, which I won’t scare my mother with by committing them to this post. My early twenties were also filled with many poor choices but here I made a few good choices too and I think my ages aligned more closely for a short while.

Then, rather curiously, my mind stopped aging in my mid twenties while my body followed the clock. It’s difficult to put a finger on what happened though.

What was the catalyst for this split? Who is this person living inside my head that does not align properly with the body he’s in? He can still do a five kilometer run at the drop of a hat and then eat a Cleveland Burger from Clans without skipping a beat. Whereas the guy in the mirror needs to take a nap after eating protein – much like a toddler.

My eldest is beginning to wish himself older, not because he’s unhappy with his lot in life in any way, but rather because Star Wars: The Last Jedi is coming to a cinema near us in a couple of months and he desperately wants to watch it on the big screen. He must have asked me if the new episode is PG rated about a thousand times since I told him it was coming out. He simply cannot contain his enthusiasm and I think secretly, after he’s said his prayers each night with me, he adds an extra shout out to the big guy about Star Wars being PG rated. He really is an open book, he draws people in with his sunny disposition and is very difficult to say no to. I imagine great things ahead for him because he has such a big, open, generous personality.

The little guy on the other hand is barely even aware of what day of the week it is. It’s not that he doesn’t know because he can’t comprehend the days of the week and the progression of time, rather it’s that he simply does not care. He’s also a huge Star Wars fan, but only to the point that he often asks if we can just go watch it today. No? Oh well. On to the next thing then. I am in a constant state of surprise, confusion and amazement with him. Sometimes I check his pockets just to make sure he’s not carrying around the one ring to rule them all. I imagine great things ahead for him because he is already in charge of his own universe, it’s just a matter of time really before he’s in charge of ours.

As my boys get older, I wonder if I will recognize the points at which their ages start to differ inwardly and outwardly. Perhaps I will. Perhaps not.

I do think though that asking them how old they are and how old they feel (on a regular basis) would be a good exercise. You never know, I might find myself living in a house with a twenty five year old pre-schooler plotting how he’s going to reach the pedals of the car when he takes it for a joyride.

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The manual

I firmly believe that there is a fundamental flaw or gap that we as humans have somehow failed to correct in the last 200,000 years or so of our existence.

We, do not come with instructions.

I mean we’ve evolved opposable thumbs, we walk upright, we have a far more aesthetically pleasing forehead than the fossil record of ourselves would suggest. We have far less cause for knuckle-dragging too and with our ability to write ideas and facts down, we are all able to share any information with others in a detailed, widely understood and accepted way.

As an aside, in other respects, we seem to have regressed.

Take Bieber for example. He appears to be an evolutionary step backwards for men in general and masculinity in particular. He represents an androgynous, dystopian future that I care not to dwell too much on. I don’t care how many tattoo’s he has, he still hasn’t grown up and he seems to hold the world in contempt. Suffice to say, if he doesn’t grow into a human man soon, an entire generation of girls will come to believe that he is the norm – what then for human kind?

Back to the point of this post though; something we are all in desperate need of is an operating manual. An honest to goodness list of operating instructions containing a candid declaration of what’s in the box, a list of requirements, a list of parts, known issues and incompatibilities, standards and deviations. The lot.

Here’s the trick though, it should be up to each one of us to write our own manual from the time we are able to write and then keep it up to date. Prior to us being able to write, our parents should be documenting our quirks and behaviours as they uncover them. A biography if you will. Once we take over, it should then be mandatory for us to keep it up to date. Complete honesty, should be driven through the customer experience – more on that later though.

With our manual in tow, whenever we meet someone new that will play a role in our lives more significant than say – exchanging cash for coffee at the local starbucks, we can then exchange manuals, giving the new person in our lives a crows-nest view of ourselves and vice versa. The idea being that when you experience a glitch with another person, for whom you have a manual, one can quickly check their manual to see how to sort the problem out. That’s assuming it is a problem, it might just be standard operating procedure for that person, in either case, we’d know exactly how to handle that person.

Imagine someone you work with passing an idea of yours off as their own. You would immediately be able to check their manual and see that yes, they are, in fact just complete assholes. It says so right there in their manual. You would then also be able to annotate their manual under the asshole declaration section and say yes, this person is quite accurate in their assessment of themselves. Here’s my rubber stamp, asshole. Or you know, you could check their asshole status when you first meet them and then, armed with that information, you could make more informed choices when dealing with that particular asshole.

The entire premise would be based on complete honesty. For instance, an undocumented asshole would instantly become a pariah for not declaring their asshole status. So while it may not seem like an obvious thing to do, this honesty idea, it would be far better to declare yourself an asshole, and act like one, than not declare it at all and then subsequently act like one.

That would, in this new future, be a social faux pax on a level about a thousand times more serious than say farting in a crowded lift or peeing in a pool.

There, I’ve planted the seed, now let’s all think of the potential applications for this idea and spread it far and wide.

As I proofread this, I realise that this post has mostly been about the word asshole. To the more sensitive reader, I humbly apologise. In my defense however, my manual would, on page one, read as follows:

Uses the word asshole a lot.