The Fool-Proof Guide to Failing with Flair

Everything you need to know about getting it wrong.

Over The Hill



Anyone with children, or over the age of 30, is aware that time seems to pass exponentially faster each year. What no one wants to believe is that it’s not an illusion or a trick of perception. It’s not. Time really does pass differently as we age. When we are young time drags on us. A single school day lasts for a month. Birthdays come once a millennium. Waiting to be old enough to drive or vote or drink feels like slow torture, but we measure time by the future and with anticipation. Somewhere in our 20’s that starts to change and by our 30’s it shifts completely. There is never enough time to get everything done and all the fun stuff about getting older is at least a decade behind us. When we hit our 40’s, we begin measuring time with the past and the future becomes a bully.

I am getting old. It’s still better than the alternative but, like many before me, I’m gonna whine about it anyway. My knees creak. My digestive system is plotting its next act of espionage. My already sluggish metabolism can’t keep up with a snail now. I can no longer read anything smaller than a street sign without glasses. The neural pathways in my brain are overgrown with mental weeds, and my insomnia is so rampant that I have begun to look forward to the age when I start nodding off randomly in the middle of conversations the way my father used to do.

It’s not just me though. Lots of my friends are going through the same crap. I worry about them now the way I worry about my children, and I fear that we are drawing ever closer to the point where most of our discussions will be about our bowel habits, lost eyeglasses and how expensive our blood pressure medication has become. There will be long pauses as we wrack our brains for the right word or name of something, and conversations will end abruptly because, while paused, we will forgot what we were trying to say anyway.

I have never had any real hang ups about how many candles are on my birthday cake and I still have a couple of years before I hit the half century mark. I wouldn’t be terribly concerned about the numbers 5 and 0 coming to pay me a visit together except that I’m convinced those treacherous bastards are conspiring against me with gravity and my mirror. I suppose all I can do is hope I’m still around, and capable of welcoming them home graciously, so they don’t just barge in and wreck the furniture. On the bright side, I suspect that by the time they arrive my eyesight will be so far gone that their pranks with my mirror will all be in vain.

I know I’m not so chronologically challenged yet that I can’t clean my proverbial house or try to paint it a new color. In a way, it’s almost a good thing that I have to re-make certain parts of my life from scratch. It allows me to measure time by the future and with anticipation again. The future is still a bully, but I think I’m ready to fight back now.



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