What do you reckon? Have you noticed that you care less as you get older?
Just about life in general I mean.
I was having a discussion with my friend Lucy about it this weekend. I’m 40 this month and she is a few years older than me and we were questioning where our enthusiasm for life had gone. Not in a melancholic way at all, more in a ‘perfectly happy just to have a cup of tea and a sit down thanks’ kind of way.
‘I just don’t CARE like I used to,’ she said, ‘I don’t feel passionate about anything. All I really want to do is potter about the house, play with my pets, read books, pluck the odd hair out of my chin, that sort of thing.’
I feel the same.
But is it just us? Do YOU care less as you get older?
On the one hand, it’s a pretty nice feeling.
I guess you’d call it contentment – a sense of being quite happy with very simple pleasures, with little things going right. A nicely organised wardrobe, a parking space appearing just where you want it, that sort of thing. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time waiting for something exciting to happen, like life wasn’t ENOUGH. I felt restless and there was a sense of urgency about things. I don’t often feel like that any more and it’s pretty relaxing to be honest.
But the flip side of not caring as much as you get older is the whole NOT CARING AS MUCH aspect.
‘I’m slightly concerned,’ admitted Lucy, ‘about how I’m going to manage to go to work for another TWENTY YEARS.’
‘It’s a worry,’ I agreed. ‘I feel like now should be about the time in our careers where we have the corner office and can pretend to be busy while actually just drinking brandy and knocking golf balls into a cup on the other side of the room.’*
That is the level of care I feel I have for a job at the moment.
‘The trouble is,’ I went on, ‘that when you’re self-employed, no one pays you to just piss about labelling your bookshelves and stroking cats. How on earth will I pay the mortgage for the next 29 years if I don’t give two hoots about anything?’
(‘Two hoots’ is such a lovely expression isn’t it? I wonder where it comes from. Is it that you care so little that you could just about muster one hoot, but can’t be arsed with a second?)
It’s a dilemma though, this total lack of ambition, especially when you work in an industry that is developing quickly. Every time a new social media platform rears its ugly head I see other bloggers leaping excitedly onto the bandwagon as it rumbles past, while I stay sat down in a cafe, watching them through the window while I eat a doughnut.
It feels like it’s a young person’s game.
It’s not even that I don’t enjoy my job or that I don’t try my best on individual pieces of work. I know I have a very enviable career, and that I can be flexible and have plenty of variety, it’s just… I don’t even know really. It’s just that I could quite happily NOT.
Basically I feel like I’m ready to retire. My bank balance says otherwise.
Even five years ago I felt different. If you have asked me then what I would do if I won the lottery, I would have had dreams of creating some fancy looking creative agency, full of ping pong tables and tall men with beards doing programming.
Now? I’d probably pay off the mortgage, go on a cruise and go out a lot for brunch.
I’d love to know if this is just me. Do you feel like you care less as you get older? How do you maintain enthusiasm for work when really you’d just quite like to be a cat?
*I didn’t use that exact analogy, but the more I have thought about it, the more that’s how I see it in my mind.