That terrible feeling that you get when somebody assumes you older than you are.
I am a bit, but not much, older than the who song “my generation”. That's to say I screamed my head of when my mother didn't give me enough milk while Roger Daltrey was telling everyone that he wanted to die before he got old. Never mind the bollocks. That's my generation. Afraid of nothing, but that one thing. Too become a decent well established citizen. Too become boring, less inspired and set in your ways. It's better to die before you get that old. No, a search, a craving for originality, a spark of fire and enlightenment. That's something too strive for. You don't find that when you stick to traditions and rituals. A life of bohemian, a certain volatility is better suited to that.
So it was a serious shock to my system when I came to my parents home and the kids in the neighbourhood started to call me “mister” or worse “sir”. I thought “have I sank so far?” I could forbid them of course. Tell them that I only want to be called by my first name, but the damage is already done. I am “mister”. That took a while to process, but then I thought again “never mind the bollocks”. I was twenty something. Still young and strong. Much of life was still ahead of me. The future was bright.
And then I became forty something. Of course I realized that I had become a civilized citizen, but with that spark of wanting to invent things still burning I did not feel old. Actually it is time when you still in the prime of your life. No crisis, no nonsense. There was no trouble as far as I could see. So I happily went through my forties with usual amount of bollocks you have to put with nowadays, but all things considered nothing I should be worried about.
But then 50 is coming up. In the Netherlands a magical number. We say that we see Abraham (or Sarah if you are a woman). By “seeing” we mean having the same amount of wisdom as the very old Abraham. Anyway, there they put a big puppet with a beard in your garden and announce the whole world you have become 50. It is a thing to be scared of, so there are two things one can do. Either throw a big party for friends and family or go on a trip. This is not so different from Finland. I choose the flight forward. To do a big party and a trip! I was reconciled with the fact that 50 would become my number.
Then the second shock came when I went to a concert of classical music in Turku. There was a lot of grey hair in the music hall. I admit. Little people under 40 and usually in the company of someone who was over 50. In the break I decided to buy tickets for another concert a few months later. The cashier looked at me. To his credit, it must be said, he doubted. But then he asked if I had right to senior reduction. What! Me?? Me, who still has to work and pay his taxes? Me, who can be doubtful if he ever gets a pension? No! No senior reduction thank you! I have not reached stage yet. I will undoubtedly thankful when I reach that age. Maybe by then I even liked to get bored. But not now. “never mind the bollocks”. There is still too much to enjoy.
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