Growing Up, and Growing Old

I nearly fainted this afternoon. I had been working flat out all day on a technical problem. I didn’t get up from my desk from the moment I arrived in the morning until the moment I left in the evening. There must be a rule deep in the workings of the universe that undiscovered problems will show themselves at the most unexpected moments. I’m reminded of the infinite improbability drive in Douglas Adams book “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”. Who would have guessed he would predict the nature of modern software development so many years before we all started headbutting laptops and thumping desks.

The children went back to school today.

Miss Twelve is asking to have her hair dyed, because somebody in her class has green hair. When told she will be doing nothing of the sort until her body stops growing (for very valid reasons that any hair salon should have told the girl with green hair), she threw herself face-first into the sofa.

Miss Fourteen woke up and complained of her shoulder hurting. Her appearance at the foot of the stairs a few minutes later was somewhat miraculous, given her record for (not) going to school on Mondays this year. I wonder just how stupid teenagers think their parents are?

Miss Seventeen scraped herself out of bed with five minutes to spare to avoid being late, and wandered off to her work placement looking annoyingly neat and tidy for somebody that was very probably up until the early hours chatting with friends on her mobile phone. Oh to be young again, and not care about anybody except yourself. Of course she doesn’t realise we see this in her at the moment – the selfishness, thoughtlessness, and carelessness. We can’t wait for it to pass.

It’s just gone 9pm, and I’m sitting in the junk room once again – half an hour out to empty my head into the keyboard. Half an hour to avoid a descent into complete insanity. Some would argue I’m already there.

I received word from my Mum this afternoon that an old family friend has died. He was a fixture at family parties while growing up – a member of the tug-of-war team my Dad competed with throughout my early childhood. My memories of him will always be of the towering, seemingly indestructible mountain of a man that could drink like a fish, and would grin quietly in the corner of a bar while everybody else made fools of themselves. For the generation that never knew him, he will be the man in the background of countless holiday photos cherished by their parents, and in stories told by their parents friends.

It’s a sobering thought really – my parents friends are passing away, one by one. The families I grew up knowing so well will soon be no more. Of course just as quickly as the older generation pass away, new generations are being born – children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. The generation I knew as a child are starting to disappear though, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Perhaps I should be paying more attention to the here and now – because we don’t get another go at this, do we.

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