Today marks the first full day of my fifth decade on this planet. That word, fifth, is mighty bloody scary. Reaching forty is bad enough, but realising that you're now marching towards fifty gives rise to a particular dread if you're someone who is petrified of dying.
When I fired up the the laptop yesterday, the big day itself, to check emails, a few were my daily deliveries from Google alerts - I've set a few up, including one for this blog, two for Manx Giant and Manx Connection, and my name. It's good to have a heads up if someone is ripping you to pieces, and nice to be able to thank those who link something nice to you.
I checked the first few yesterday and there was nothing of note. But then I clicked open the 'John Quirk' alert. On a day when I was already subjecting myself to the great 'what I have done with my life so far' scrutiny, and was only too aware of my advancing age following an accident involving our little princess, a trampoline and my back, the one link in the alert did nothing to cheer me up.
The title read: John Quirk Obituary
It's really not the kind of thing you want to be reading on the day when everyone says life begins. Morbid curiousity made me click on the link to see which poor sod had died. It turned out to be a John C Quirk, 72, from Minnesota, so he at least enjoyed a reasonable innings. What it did strike home is the fact that, assuming I too am lucky enough to enjoy a decent innings, the chances are I'm around halfway through that innings, and quite probably over the halfway mark.
It's a sobering train of thought. I'm not going to inflict more pressure on myself by vowing that 'this will be the year when I make that fiction breakthrough and strike a publishing deal'... blah blah blah.
I've done it before, and it doesn't work. You've just got to keep chipping away, and hope that one day your big break will arrive. There is, however, a sense of purpose forming in my mind, unlike anything I've experienced before. It's a determination to work even harder to achieve my goals. That's not to say I've not worked hard in the past, but I'm my own harshest critic, and there have been years I've wasted.
As the years slip past, you realise there will be fewer opportunities to do the things you want to do, so in turn you have to make sure you don't waste them. When the call does come from the Big Guy upstairs, the one thing I don't want to do is click on my obituary from whatever heavenly internet cafe I'm in at the time and feel that I've not achieved what I set out to do. Because that would really piss me off.
So, it's time for action stations. Time to get cracking. Or it will be, when this bloody back sorts itself out...
What's the most prescient book you'e ever read?
7 hours ago