The other day I was chatting to my friend K about dating.
"What age man would you consider?" she asked me.
"I don't know," I said. "I guess up to fifty... fifty two?"
Later on K confessed to me that she had thought that was really old. "Until," she said, "my fifty-one year old husband wandered into view."
K, like me, is forty-five.
Yesterday, my friends J and J came to visit me. J (the female) is forty-five. J (the male) is fifty. I know he is fifty because I was at his birthday party. But I have known J ever since he was in his mid-twenties. And whilst I don't necessarily still think of him as twenty-six (even I can perceive the difference in his hair), I cannot possibly comprehend him as being fifty. He will always be hovering in his thirties to me.
I'm not sure what age I see myself being, but it's certainly not forty-five. I know that I don't feel stuck in my twenties, because being around twenty-something's makes me feel about one hundred. But the word 'fifty' seems utterly preposterous, an age I can't even begin to fathom.
Even more confusingly, I'm pretty sure I see myself as somewhere in my mid-30's. And how this works when my parents are the same age is a bit beyond me.
Now, this has nothing to do with maturity or mental age. Believe me, I have lived a thousand lives in my 45 years. Sometimes I feel far, far older than my age. At other times, I feel as naïve as a teenager. That is normal, I think. I suspect I'll feel that way till I die.
But I do believe we freeze frame ourselves somewhere in the middle of our lives. I believe that life moves quicker than our brains, and that it takes us a while to catch up. Perhaps when I'm 60, I'll feel 45. Perhaps when I'm 70, I'll feel 52.
For now, I am the same age as my parents. And that's not a bad age to be.
How old do you feel?