This year I turn 40 – which apparently means I am no longer culturally relevant. That’s what marketing companies and advertisers believe. I join a demographic whose views don’t count. I am no longer valid as a human. I have no place in society. I am worthless.
And may I say this: what a relief. What a load off. Because I don’t mind telling you: I was getting pretty sick of having my finger on the pulse. I was tired of being a cultural touchpoint. I was fed up of people phoning me up – and they did, every day – asking me about the hot new sound, or who is the best Spice Girl?
Like anyone needs my advice on that. Everyone knows. It’s Sneezy Spice. Easy. Because I remember the ‘90s. There was Sneezy Spice, Angry Spice, Dopey Spice, Bashful Spice, Creepy Spice, Old Spice, All Spice and Oasis.
Anyway. What does all this mean? It means I’m free and I’m free to be honest. Because if what I say doesn’t matter, then it doesn’t matter what I say.
Descent into madness
Age is a curious phenomenon. At the start of your adult life, you have no experience. You’ve done nothing. You’re a blank sheet. And your first job interview is a handy reminder of how little you’ve achieved. I remember in my first interview being asked about my greatest achievement, and all I could muster was the time I made a really tasty sandwich.
I studied theology and philosophy at university. That’s no good in job interviews. Why do I want this job? Why do any of us want a job? What is work anyway? Is this really an interview? Are we even here?
But here’s the kicker – and they don’t tell you this when you start out – after a certain age, your experience works against you. You become part of the problem: an obstacle, a blockage. You become the grumpy bastard at work who sits in meetings, arms folded, being negative about everything, simply because you’ve seen the same terrible ideas emerge time and time again and you know they never succeed.
What does all this mean? It means there is a sweet spot in life – probably about half an hour long – when you know enough to know you might be good at something, but not enough to know that, in reality, you’re not.
I am trying not to pass my cynicism onto my son. It’s not fair, he’s only two. I want him to grow up in Denmark confident he can achieve anything he sets his mind to. That’s not easy in a country that has embraced Janteloven, a moronic Nordic ideology conceived by a miserable Danish-Norwegian author specifically constructed to crush individual personal ambition. Nice one, Danes.
I shouldn’t worry. I’m convinced my son has already got life all figured out. Why do things for yourself when you can have two adult slaves run around after you all day? I know he knows how to get stuff. I’ve seen him foraging around every drawer and cupboard in the kitchen. He could probably rustle up something not out of place on the menu at Noma, but he knows it’s far better to let Mum and Dad do it.
Right now, life is simple. Keep him fed, keep him active and neutralise any potential tantrums at the first opportunity. What does all this mean? It means that even with 40 years’ life experience, I still have no clue what I’m doing. But that’s half the fun, right?