I have some of my best ideas when I’m lying in bed at night unable to, or on the way to, sleep. Last night was one of those occasions. In my head I put the world to rights and it sounded like a masterpiece in the making. Of course, by the time morning arrived last night’s thoughts had been forgotten and replaced by the rush to get ready for work. I should maybe buy a Dictaphone so that if I get these ideas in my head at inconvenient times I can record my thoughts for development later on. I have to consider, however, that a Dictaphone at midnight is incompatible with a sleeping pregnant girlfriend at midnight. Maybe I should do away with the Dictaphone idea and develop a thought camera. Now, that’s an idea.

I should really be working now, but the thoughts I had last night linger like a splinter in my mind’s eye. I can’t see to shift the splinter because I can’t put my finger on what the splinter actually is. It’s frustrating. Like when the answer to the question is on the tip of your tongue but escapes you. I guess I have to have the mental fortitude to put it behind me and move on.

So, moving on I was talking yesterday to a colleague who told me of a conversation he had with his grandchild at the weekend and it sparked a train of thought in me. The conversation went something like this:

“Granddad, do you like where you work?”

“Yes I do”

“Are there lots of people there that you fancy?

“There are some.”

“So there are many people there your age?”

“My age? No not my age.”

And then he explained to me; “I may be 60 but inside I’m still 22. Therefore I still fancy 22 year olds.”

Which makes sense to me, and it got me thinking. Do we actually grow up at all (us men) or are we forced into slightly more responsible behaviour due to the changing circumstances of our lives? I mean, I’m 29 now, 30 this year, and I still play computer games and laugh at dirty jokes and have a breast fixation. I have probably been playing computers games, laughing at dirty jokes and had a breast fixation since I was 13 or 14. Fifteen years later and nothing has changed. I wonder is another fifteen years would have illicit any changes if I was left to my own devices to “grow up” naturally. Just as my colleague still lusts after girls less then half his age, was I also destined to cling tenaciously to my youth until I was old and grey? Now that I am going to be a father am I going to be forced, kicking and screaming, to grow up and stop acting like a kid myself? Are children a cause for one to grow old and grow up or are they conversely a cause for staying young and youthful?

I have no doubt that the next 20 years of my life and going to be filled with stress, dread and worry. It is natural that a parent will worry about their child. I see some parents, some people (grown ups) and they look haggard. Raising a child has taken it out of them. I also see people who have held on tight to their youthful vigour and owe that to their children. They would tell you that children are the fountain of youth and keep one young.

I wonder if I, and I would consider myself a young person still (certainly in outlook if not in chronology), am destined to be a parent who stays youthful because of my child or suffers for it.


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