Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Birthday to me...

Well, this is it. The last evening of my fifth decade. Tomorrow I turn 50. And I feel great.

When I was a teenager, 50 was an unimaginable distance away. A lot has happened in my life since I walked out of the school gates for the last time (and straight into The Fox in Hythe Rd, still in uniform. Hmmm.). College, work, money, marriage, no money, kids, even less money, no work, more work, lover, no marriage, money, step kids, illness, no lover, no step kids, no work, no money. But I have friends and people I can rely on in an emergency and I am someone on whom other people often rely. I have made friendships I will always treasure and I have few regrets. I wish some people close to me knew the truth, I wish the same people knew the truth about some others. I will not be drawn further on that.

A lot has happened in the world in those 50 years. Wars in Indo-China, the Middle East, Asia and even Europe. There has been a constant roller-coaster of arms races and strategic limitations; the pointless fucking brinkmanship that is necessary once somebody discovers the means to destroy every living thing on the planet a hundred times over. Attention seeking politicians nobody, anywhere, actually gives a shit about waving their stinking pus-infected genitals at each other while the rest of us quake in the corner. We've had boom and bust that makes the filthy rich richer and filthier and the poor...well, they've never really mattered. We've had emancipation in America and Africa and slavery elsewhere. I live amongst people who wilfully judge their neighbour purely on the colour of his skin, not on the size of his heart. We've had unbelievable intolerance and violence based on crackpot interpretations of philosophies supposedly based on love. We've had famine and natural disaster and incredible outpourings of selfless charity. We've had politicians that have promised much but delivered little. There was a frantic burst of exciting technological envelope-pushing that effectively ended when the American flag was stabbed into the Sea of Tranquility a quarter of a million miles away. I was 8. The 42 years since have culminated in us being able to watch endless re-runs of Neil Armstrong on bits of plastic the size of a credit card but not correctly utilise the fuel cell technology that sent him there so we rely on raping the world for our power instead. We've developed medical advances to keep us alive and give everyone the chance to breed but brought about the irony that there will be too many people on earth to feed.

I have learned that desperately chasing money and the in-your-face up-yours kind of status wealth affords is pointless. It breeds nothing but hate, a false sense of hunger and resentment. Your car will get you to your destination faster and prettier and noisier than mine but we'll look the same in a head-on. Ultimately we'll both end up being burnt in a box and our life being celebrated by someone who never knew us. Buy your stuff but never forget it's value that counts, not price. Those in power, remember that too. You're there because of us and for us, not so you can write a book on how you let us down and how you would have only done it better if only...

The only currency worth anything is happiness and love. Selflessness over selfishness. The rest is just dressing. I'm looking forward to the future. The depression that has haunted me for the past two years has lifted in the past few weeks and I feel great. I've rarely, if ever, been happier. I really don't know what changes this year will bring but...50? Bring it on, I can't wait.

12 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Tim Footman said...

Indo-China? What's that, grandpa?

(Happy birthday, sir.)

1:18 am  
Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

A+. Keep up the good work, that boy.

6:56 am  
Anonymous Marty said...

Happy birthday!
I'm pleased to hear you are feeling good. This is particularly good to experience if depression has been a factor in the past. I say, enjoy this good time and focus on living the good times. You may well find as I have in the past year that much of the negativity evaporates.

8:15 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Tim, yes indeed. I'm showing my age.

Vicus, I try.

Marty, it is my intention to do just that.

8:35 am  
Blogger tom909 said...

Happy 50th Richard. Good post to mark it too!

10:09 am  
Blogger Rog said...

Happy birthday old timer - you're catching me up!

11:25 am  
Blogger Rol said...

Many happy returns!

2:20 pm  
Anonymous Rae who ought to learn to write pithy comments said...

I like your birthday post. And since this is not FB there is no easy button to press to register my liking. So I have to make an effort and actually type to say that I like it

It reminds me of my mum's attitude to to my car fiasco yesterday - she basically said both her daughters are healthy and happy as are the rest of the family and the smoking daughter (me) hasn't had a fag since Xmas Eve, so really the car thing is nothing in the grand scheme of things. (I still feel bad about the car)

Sorry. Waffled again.

Happy Birthday again and please can you move your birthday to a better time next year as I did look for a card for you but they are all crap this time of year due to the shops being full of Xmas ones

9:26 pm  
Blogger Zed said...

A belated happy birthday. Lovely post full of woe, misery and great happiness. How complete. May 2011 be kind to you and grant you all your wishes.

4:04 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Tom, welcome back and thank you.

Rog, if I'm an old-timer, what does that make you?

Rae, yes, Blogger is very much old skool that relies on traditional methods of communication. LOL.

Zed, I'm wishing hard. Got a feeling it may.

9:44 pm  
Blogger Space Hopper said...

A very belated Happy Birthday, Richard. Here's to your next 50.

10:05 pm  
Anonymous Clairious Miss said...

YAY! Good by blues, hello 50! I am late on wishing you a happy birthday. Now, get your ass back here and blog!

10:19 pm  

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