Surrounded by pregnant friends and others who have recently become mothers, I still try to kid myself I'm not actually that old but this week I've had a few reality checks:
A small child is running towards me along a corridor with tears streaming down her face. As she gets nearer, I realise I know this child and stop to ask her what the matter is. Quickly establishing “everything is wrong” and that help is being sought, I allow her to continue on her path, having momentarily reassured her it'll be OK and that there are people who care.
Later in the day, I'm boarding the train and the same girl appears beside me, clearly wanting to somehow return the favour by showing equal concern. “Do you want any help?” she asks, putting her arm out to indicate I can lean on it in order to safely hobble into the carriage.
“I'm not that old,” I say, laughing inside as I hear my words. I remember being 11 and thinking anyone above 18 was ancient so to her I am a dinosaur.
Teaching English Language to AS and A2 classes, I've recently been discussing language change. This week we've moved onto how the development of technology has effected language and communication. I'm asked when the Internet “began” and soon have to explain what “Dial-up” is. I can remember the pain of IT G.C.S.E. back in 1996 and how long it took for websites to load. I also recall early mobile phones and my initial annoyance when the assumption everyone owned one became widespread.
It is actually amazing how much has changed since my early teens. I blame this week's revelation that I am no longer “young” on the sudden development of technology. I shall continue to do daily battle against this sad reality, already entirely in agreement with Leon Trosky. Trotsky wisely once said: "Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happens to a man", presumably referring generically to “mankind”. I'm already shocked by my age now so just imagine how I'll feel when I eventually hit retirement!