I have long held a theory about age and our journey through life being related to expanses of water – water being life, femininity and creativity.
If we look at the numbers.. those little jumps we make as milestones in our childhood – 10, 13,15,16,18,20,21 – all are marked in some way.. first decade, first teen, age to drink, smoke, have sex, drive, double decade and then the all powerful 21.. its then a short drift of four years till 25..
So lets take these little expanses of time of a year or two or four between these milestone birthdays and consider they might be small streams, rivers, the thames.. we cross, we make it to the other side, we mark the time.
So at 25 we kick off on a five year journey till our 30th – no more markers in this five year cruise.. so lets say this is across the English Channel.
At 30 we now have a far longer expanse ahead – a full ten years and so we commence our traverse of the Atlantic – a metaphorical ocean of big seas and calm patches.
At 40 we hit the Panama canal and cross through into the Pacific – warmer, tropical and changeable and certainly for most a more profound experience.
Well having formed this theory in my 30’s I didn’t have the maturity, age and experience to have the insight to see where life went beyond 50 and besides the theory had run out of ocean expanses to cross.. it was in my late 30’s that I was directing a TV commercial in Brussels. Out for dinner one night with my producer a one Armand Hiernick who was then around 60, Armand is [maybe was] a very bright and lovely man who had spent much of his life in analysis – a true Woody Allen character with a humour, charm and sophistication I admired – i decided to pitch this theory to him and ask if he could throw light on the subject of what happened post 50..
He was quick to answer and and in thick franco belge accent responded “ Ah… Christian it is very simple – after 50 you are in your own little lake.. an enclosed piece of water that is still and only occasionally troubled by wind but not currents – you are sat on your jetty surround by your family and friends”
Well i reckon he was right – at 51 and having had a tempestuous couple of years I am now settling into that lake and looking forward to fully realising myself in my third age – 50-80.