The Difficult Fourth Decade

A few weeks ago, I turned 30. I will dispense with the preamble required in post-modern discourse (signifiers, social constructs &c &c) and instead just go on to say that, now occupying my 4th decade, I have been looking at the other 3. It is, to put it lightly, not really within the scope of a single post to try and capture all the things in my life, nor am I wanting to do a massive retrospective.

A philosopher of note commented that, in the main, we pass through life in something of a sleep-walk state, letting events and opportunity pass us by. Having reached 30, I am by no means looking to make some bold (and probably futile) statement to the effect that I shall no longer do thus! but I certainly would accept that observation applied to my life. I suppose I must be predisposed towards contentment.

I do not consider myself to be an adventurer, though I’m socialised into conventional masculine norms to wish I was. I have been to a few places – not a lot, and certainly not somewhere daring! – but I’ve seen Paris, Prague, Rekjavik, Belfast, London, Berlin… and some other places. I never caught a Gondola in Venice, and I never managed to make it to Mexico for my 30th. A bolder person might have just upped and left, but I have a job, a house and a partner who would probably raise issue (in that order).

I’m guilty of being a dreamer, but I (try and) set my dreams to paper, with the intent of sharing. In the news, I read about the Bone Season, the first in a series by a 21 year old. Hat’s off to her for her courage. When I was a few years younger, I did send off finished manuscripts, to thunderous rejection. I continue to work and, I’m please to say, I’m published.* Having not published anything novel length, I become intensely curious about when other people were first published. It feels like a race. I was at a talk by David Almond and found it oddly heartening that he did, and does, the same. Identification I suppose.

*I’m also vain enough to point out that my work can by found online. Abyss was electronically published in 2011 by SWAMP. Outreach Thirteen is going to be available as part of ‘Tuned to a Dead Channel’ published by the good people at Dagda Publishing


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