It’s a bit of a grey area. When the phrase half century starts being thrown about and we begin comparing our ages to tortoises… Hang on, people don’t do that?
Anyway, to my point: Is Mum going to appreciate me telegraphing her age now she’s reached the big five-O?
Whenever we’d ask Grandpa about his age, he always claimed to be twenty-four. So I’m half expecting Mum to do the same. Maybe begin counting back from fifty.
I think we all sub-consciously strive to be like our parents. Although in cases like my own, I am fully aware of how much I look to their example. To do the right thing, and make the fairest choices.
Me and Mum do have our differences. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine the man-child in the room next door — gunning down droves of undead horrors and swearing profusely at his games console — bears any relation to the devout Christian mother, who’s considering buying earplugs as she cooks us all dinner.
Really though there are very few differences between my relationship with Mum and her relationship with her own. It’s amusing imagining Mum headbanging at rock concerts whilst Grandma cooked healthy meals with the smooth sounds of Classic FM drifting through the house.
Mum sees herself as more adventurous than her Mum. Which is true… But the similarities are undeniable. Yes, Mum picked up Grandma’s rather unique “hmm” sound she’d made periodically throughout the day, and her habit of talking to herself. But she also has the same bone structure — that of not having a bad one in her body.
I’ve certainly picked up the Queen’s English (or something close to) from Mum, making me the poshest sounding manual labourer in Eastbourne. And I do occasionally catch myself thinking aloud… But, I’d warrant most who know me think I’m a good egg.
When you reach my age (which really is twenty-four, I’m not lying!), or earlier actually, you start seeing your parents differently. There’s no doubt I still rely on them an unhealthy amount, but now maturity has inevitably enveloped me (with its delightful combination of money worries and existential dread) I can fully appreciate the amount they have given in the past twenty-four years.
And a balance begins to emerge as the selfish, needy child gives way to the adult I am now. It’s not all about me anymore. Although I’m aware of Mum’s distress over her kids growing up and leaving the nest, now she has the time to pursue her own hobbies and dreams again. Which are just as important as my own.
I can be just as proud of Mum as she is of me. And right now, I am. She still returns from work beaming, still happily married and she’s currently crammed into a living room with 20-30 lifetime friends.
Where do I want to be at fifty? More or less right where my Mum is.