The end of my youth commences


It bothers me silly that I’m almost forty, and I [have very little money]. I remember ten years ago, on my thirtieth birthday, I was more or less broke. I thought: “Wow, thirty and broke.” Next Wednesday I’ll be forty.

To crown everything, I often think I am wasting my time chasing after money while my real task in life is – or perhaps used to be – to write. It is almost as if I have been taking a chance since 2006 to pursue money full-time, with the idea that I can return to my writing at a later stage. Five years on, and I’m starting to panic. For more than one reason.


One discovers what other 39/40-year-olds have already realised: The struggle continues.

MONDAY, 27 JUNE 2011

It happened to the hippies of ’69, and with the punks of ’79. It happened to the grunge rockers of the early nineties. It happens to super models, and it happened to a tennis player who won Wimbledon five times in a row in the late seventies and early eighties. It even happened to the teenage queens that Roger Waters sang about in 1992. Everyone gets older. (Except of course if you die young.)


The last day of my thirties. It’s been a long decade. A good one …

I suspect I feel like many other 39-year-olds have felt on the eve of a new decade: Can’t we just get it over and done with? I really just want to get on with the rest of my life.

What does it mean in any case to turn forty? Is there a universal meaning that applies to everyone who wonders about their lives on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of their entry into life?

What does it mean to me that I am forty years old tomorrow? What would it mean tomorrow to say I’m forty years old today?

I am alive.

I am grateful for that.

I love someone, and for this I am very grateful.

The same person loves me. I am particularly grateful for that.

I still believe in things. I still believe in my own potential. I still believe in my dreams.

And for this I am grateful.

The struggle continues – to be who and what I can be. And for that to be good.


Whilst working up some anxiety about all the things I have to get done before I hit fifty, I crossed another obscure milestone: Fifteen years (and two days) ago I arrived in Northeast Asia.

I had turned 25 the previous day.