They say that you spend your twenties worrying about what other people think about you, your thirties learning not to care and your forties realising they weren’t ever thinking about you in the first place. Other people are too busy worrying about their own stuff to be thinking about the ins and outs of your meaningless existence.
I saw a mate in the supermarket the other day and completely ignored him. He saw me too but it was clear that neither of us were in the mood to talk so arrived at a telepathic understanding to just walk straight past each other. It felt like the grown-up thing to do. In my twenties I would have stopped and staged a tiresome five-minute conversation, straining to be amusing about or interested in whatever the fuck he was up to in a Sainsbury’s Local on a Bank Holiday Monday. In my thirties I would have at least made the effort to pretend I hadn’t seen him.
Now I am 44 I didn’t care whether he thought I’d seen him or not.
Being in your forties is great. I mean, you still worry about bills and work and suspicious lumps just as much as you ever did. But you don’t give a shit about whether or not people regard you as cool, interesting, polite or decent. This explains why I sometimes drop the kids off at school wearing the same tracksuit bottoms I slept in.
It’s better than most other twentysomething dramas because it rinses laughs out of the bleakest of scenarios.
I watch TV shows about millennials partly to remind myself of how much easier life is for me now that I don’t feel shame or guilt about staying in on a Friday night with a curry instead of being out at a club, sniffing coke in a stinking toilet cubicle.