That’s what I fear – the click-over. By that I mean the day the first number of my age clicks over and suddenly there’s this sinking feeling. It only happens every ten years so it makes it more gut-wrenching when it does.
I never understood why my Mum and Dad made a fuss about turning 40, or 50. At least I didn’t until I turned 20. I obviously didn’t remember the first time the number clicked over to a 1. And anyway, it wouldn’t have felt so bad because it was a celebration of having double figures in your age. But where I never cared for 18, and don’t care for 21, my 20th birthday filled my with an unidentifiable sense of dread. The idea of becoming an ‘adult’ at 18 did nothing for my mental feels. Just as now, thinking about the milestone of 21, I have no reaction. It was the action of that first number clicking over that made my blood run cold.
Imagine one of those old-fashioned clocks. The ones where the numbers are on shutters and they slowly turn as the time goes on. The minute ones are constantly going, but the hour only clicks over every 60 minutes. It draws out it’s click-over for so long you almost forget to notice it. But then when it does go it makes it that much more noticeable. That’s the part of aging that gets me.
Not the grey hair – well, not yet anyway – and not the wrinkles. That happens to us all and I have plenty of time to get accustomed to the idea that one day I might look more like a mouldy raisin than a human. It’s that fear of knowing that in ten years time, after I have stopped noticing that first number, it will click over and I’ll feel those ten years catch up on me in one rush. I suppose when I really think about it it’s not just the click-over that I fear. It’s the knowing I could lose my memory, my eyesight, my legs. I don’t want to be dependent on someone else. I felt bad when M24 spent £1.69 on a pot of tea for me, so the idea of being in debt to someone for taking care of me 24/7 is horrible.
But for now, I am not at that stage. I still have full control of my motor functions and over my mind. I am young and healthy and should be making the most of it while I can. And for the next few years I imagine I’ll be able to get through without too much preoccupation over aging. It will be my 30th birthday that will get me. The moment that Number 2 shutter finally ticks over and becomes a 3. The ominous feeling of something dark looming overhead that won’t reveal itself until the day, and when it does it’ll knock the proverbial wind out of me.
Right this moment the only thing about getting older I’m letting myself worry about is what I’m going to do after I leave uni. House, bills, job, driving … complete independence. It’s a scary thought. I like living alone right now. But I don’t have a job – I don’t need one. I’m living in a shared house run by a student accommodation business – it’s not a house with a mortgage or a flat with regular (high) bills. I can’t drive, but I don’t currently need to – I’m terrified to try. Once I can get over that, and make it out the other side alive perhaps the future won’t look so bleak.
But for now, let’s just think about the immediate future. That’s the only thing I care about. The next year will be big for me: my final year at uni and with it the dissertation, moving house again and meeting more new people, finding out if I can make a go of it with M24. A lot of big things and I can’t afford to focus on the far future with this so close. Perhaps after I’ll be able to worry, but for right this moment all I care about is if I can get my essays in on time and when I’ll get to go to Newquay with M24.
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