View through my window

March 07, 2006


About everything, really.

While I was putting off doing work yesterday morning ("I'll just watch a bit of telly while I drink a coffee ....") I saw a programme hidden away in the minor Sky channels about thrill-seekers. It went on about the dopamine reflex blah blah and showed lots of film of people jumping off cliffs with nothing but some string and a large piece of fluorescent cloth to prevent them from dying (but they always wear crash helmets, don't they? What's the point? Not going to save you from shattering every other bone in your body when you hit the very hard ground at a hundred and forty miles an hour. Anyway.).

It got me thinking. I am, as you all ought to be aware by now (fucking well keep up at the back, why don't you?), approaching my fifth decade. In, by my calculations, 56 days, I will have my fortieth birthday. Note I did not say 'celebrate'.

I should have done all the stuff I dreamed of by now. I will be physically unable to do many of them in a few years. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to B.A.S.E. jump, I don't have that much of a dopamine receptor inhibition. (That sounded good didn't it? Almost medical. I think it's actually right, as well). I am toward that end of the spectrum, though: I do like a bit of an adrenalin sport, me. I've done a lot of rock climbing in my time, until arthritic fingers stopped me; when I'm on holiday, I enjoy finding high sea cliffs to jump off into the sea from; I ski and drive far too fucking fast to be safe. You can't play rugby every week, as a forward, if you're a wallflower.

But being nearly 40 isn't about have I done a bungee jump yet. Oh, all right, it is, but it isn't just about that. What about all my other life goals, though? The proper ones, the long-term ones. The ones that I thought I'd never possibly achieve, when I was living in a squat in a Hackney Wick tower block circa 1989, examining my navel, for day after day.

Lovely wife, check. Male progeny to continue family line, check. Female progeny to spoil rotten, check. Dream job, check. Own boss, check. Own house, check. Nice car, check.

Mmmmm. All check. So it's just stuff like 'learn to kite surf' that are missing after all. Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself. I mean, it's all very well having life goals of 'own a ski chalet in French Alps' but that conflicts with the life goal of 'do not be a slave to career, and always have time for the kids'. It's only money. You can't take it with you.

So, perhaps being 40 is all about bungee jumping. Work-type things are just the filling in between the adrenalin episodes, and if you happen to enjoy the filling in, so much the better. That's one way of looking at it, I suppose.

Thinking about it again, there are quite a few adrenaliny-type rushes that can be had at any age. I'm currently trying to organise going to Pamplona to run with the bulls this summer, as a late 40th present to myself. Everyone I talk to thinks that's nuts. (Except Flash Pete, who swears he's coming too. Hope he does, it won't be the same without him). Hey, though, ask yourself: the fucking great beast can do a hundred metres in 5 seconds and weighs a hundred and ten stone. And those horns are real, and sharp. And I am going to trap myself, with thousands of other people, in a narrow cobbled street, with several of them. Imagine, then, once the beasts have passed safely by, you turn to your mate, to anyone else in the street, eyes shining, shouting, screaming, death cheated, alive, more alive than ever. Imagine the adrenalin rush of that. Can't wait. And they do it every day for a week! And they do it first thing in the morning, so you can spend the rest of the day, and night, getting drunk!

Tell you what, I've decided that I can turn this whole thing on it's head. I shall triumphantly use this horrible event as an excuse to behave as childishly as possible. In a way only a real grown up can.


  • no. absolutely not. i expressly forbid you from bull-running on the grounds that it would give me something else to worry about, and i have enough things already, thank you.

    By Blogger surly girl, at 10:13 am  

  • Priddy puh-leeeeeese?

    By Blogger crisiswhatcrisis, at 10:30 am  

  • the bull running leaves me a bit cold - it's the cold, NOT nerves, OK?

    But I do quite fancy that big tomato fight.

    By Blogger the Beep, at 1:07 pm  

  • I would like to join the masses and proclaim you to be totally barking for wanting to do this (well, except for the drinking bit after - that sounds like fun).

    By Blogger Donna, at 1:18 pm  

  • oh fuck it - go for it; I went to NYC with a couple of girl friends to revisit my youth to celebrate my 40th, seems a bit lame really by comparison. . .

    there was a very good article in The Gruaniad this weekend about the fact were all living SOoooooooooo much longer ("than we should", the journo forgot to add that) (I still think in terms of caveman-hunter/gatherer you see) (thus we'd all have pegged it by well before 40, unless we'd become The Elders of the tribes and even then would have lost all our teeth and probably be in a reasonably bad state of repair) (although that mummified iceman they found in the Italian Alps was doing quite well for his age, wasn't he?) (I digress) and thus have far too much time, really

    you're just suffering from a symptom of that, and your brain (dopamine, serotonin and noradrenalin) is just trying to kick start you into some action as it catches up with the fact your body hasn't given up yet

    I'm a bit worried about the vegetables though, who'll be harvesting them? and whose gonna swap chutney recipes with me?

    and, BTW - and probably more importantly - have you got your life insurance sorted? is Mrs LOYL-Crisis going to be financially OK, and the sprog Crises, well provided for? have you written your will? do you need a band to play at the funeral? who'll keep up your (rather wonderful) blog? what about your clients, maybe you could pass those onto The Beep?

    Good Luck, I say! beats suicide, anyhow

    word ver: ibuprofen (won't be much help, unless you survive the day in which case it might help with the hangover)

    By Blogger don't chase it, at 6:22 pm  

  • It's not a question of dying, everyone does that eventually. It's just I intend to live first.

    (How smug was that? What a git).

    By Blogger crisiswhatcrisis, at 7:21 pm  

  • And while I'm at it, the chances of dying are really very small. An American kid did die in 02, but he did it wrong. Last year there were only a couple of dozen people gored and no-one died.

    Hahahahahaha. Only a couple of dozen. No worries, then. Hahahahahahaha. Hahahahahaha.

    *still laughing manically, wanders off into background, with occasional twitch*

    By Blogger crisiswhatcrisis, at 7:28 pm  

  • sorry, should have written "life assurance" not insurance

    as I'm sure you know, one takes out insurance "in case" anything happens, one takes out life assurance because "it's a sure thing you'll die"

    so yes, live first - very very important to live first (which is why I was encouraging you, was I not?)

    (how smug was that? what a git!)

    By Blogger don't chase it, at 10:18 pm  

  • 40 is not so bad you know. been there, done that. You'll be fine.

    By Blogger Kyahgirl, at 5:04 am  

  • But I'll be old.

    By Blogger crisiswhatcrisis, at 11:40 am  

  • oh for god's sake, 40 is NOT old

    41 and a three quarters isn't either. . .

    now, 50 - well, that is getting old (I have a friend who's fifty in a couple of months AND he has an eighteen month old, so he's feeling old + knackered & tired = makes him feel even older. . . what are you complaining about?)

    so, just put off your worries for another decade! (she trills in a jolly fashion)

    (and LIVE in the meantime, instead of worrying about it. . .)

    By Blogger don't chase it, at 4:15 pm  

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