I turned thirty six the other day – thirty feicin six! That, for the mathematically challenged, is two times eighteen. Now, a human comes of age at the age of eighteen – one reaches adulthood. So after that milestone has passed, what is the next big one?
Well, I am putting it out there today that the next important year is thirty six. The big 36. Not your 21st, not your 30th, not when you hit the fabulous forties but innocuous, oft overlooked thirty six.
For it is on this day and this day alone, that you will have spent an equal number of years as an adult and as a child.
In theory at least, as most of us never really grow up.
So what does that mean for me?
Well, on the day I turned 36, I went over the border of Belize and into Mexico for the first time in my life. Mexico. Of all the places in the world, I would be hitting this country for the first time.
It got me thinking.
I am a lucky bastard.
I really am.
You see, when I was a kid, I thought that when I grew up and became an adult (around 18 years), I would then become a fireman or a business man. I would then marry a girl (any girl) and we would have lots of children and a nice house in Dublin somewhere.
By the time I would turn thirty six I thought most of my living would be lived. I thought I would be raising my spawn and working my way up to the top of fireman/business world chain of command.
I thought I would be completely bald and probably wearing glasses.
Not that there is anything wrong with being a family man who is working his way to the top.
And the truth is that the baldness is coming slowly, but that’s ok.
It’s ok because in three days time I am going to Cuba for a month to visit a country I have always fantasised about (should one fantasise about a country?). My thoughts will be occupied with smoking fat cigars and drinking coffee and swanning around wearing my Panama hat, coiffing at the thoughts in my head as I scribble luscious, lusty poetry from the streets of Havana.
At thirty six I thought this kind of lark would have been behind me.
But this “one day at a time” philosophy which I have adopted and adapted seems to be paying dividends. I have goals and long term plans sure, but I don’t worry about them too much. I don’t live in the past as lovely a time as it was.
It is the here and now. Thirty six years on from the time I popped out from the belly of me mother.
In Mexico, headin to Cuba…