Ageing; a Jagged Little Pill

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Ageing, JAgged Little Pill, Alanis Morisette
Alanis Morisette, whose music has made me very reflective (For the avoidance of doubt, we have never been to the theatre together). Pic credit below.

It’s funny what can put me in a reflective mood. Followers of my twitter feed may have noticed how excited I became the other week when I discovered that Alanis Morisette’s classic album Jagged Little Pill was two decades old.

A whole two decades. In that time I’ve experienced some incredible highs and lows.

The one thing I can’t deny is that I’m getting older. It’s not that I have a particular fear of ageing or have suffered because of age, but it’s happening.

When Morisette released that album of hers I was 20. I was arrogant, I was going to live forever. I had no children, mortgage or debt. My biggest responsibility was to my employer and that didn’t matter. I was in a dead end job and could easily get another one.

Glastonbury Festival was the highlight of the summer and 20 years ago you didn’t buy a ticket. Back in those days you went under the fence, over the fence or walked in through a part of the fence that had been knocked down.

Life is very different for me now. I have many responsibilities and obligations, not least to Gill, my wife, and our two beautiful children. Arranging to go out for a meal with Gill takes planning. I can’t jump in a car at 11pm and head off to a rock festival in Somerset on a whim, something my friends and I did all those years ago.

Thankfully I am in a good state of health. Time has, nonetheless, had an impact on this glorious body of mine (Glorious because I’m very attached to it. It’s the only body I’ve got, after all). A decade ago I ran the British 10K in 49 minutes. Thanks to repeated ankle injuries, I run a couple of kilometres to keep fit, but that’s my lot. I daren’t do any more in fear of antagonising one of those old wounds, healed though they are.

My hair is increasingly turning salt and pepper. The last time I grew a beard was, by chance, 20 years ago. The beard was black with a hint of ginger. Throughout June I’ve been growing a beard for charity and this time around my facial hair has come out almost entirely grey in colour. As for my teeth, I still have them thanks to a rigid dental regime. Even so, many of them have fillings.

Just this afternoon I was putting together a collection of photos for my eldest daughter. There was one picture of Gill and I sat on a sofa with our firstborn just days after she’d arrived. That was almost seven years ago and I looked so young. Time, responsibilities and fatherhood have taken their toll.

Then I look at my children and see how rapidly they’re growing up. Truth be told, it’s terrifying. I know I have to treasure every moment I spend with them. They aren’t going to be so keen on their dad as they get older, especially in their teenaged years.

I accept that I’ve made it to the mid-point in my life. This doesn’t upset me; I believe age has made me more discerning and confident. I certainly can’t fight age so I must embrace it.

Looking back on my life ‘though, I do sometimes wonder if I squandered some of my younger years. It would certainly explain a few of those grey hairs. Hindsight, hey? It’s a wonderful thing.


Pic credit: Oouinouin. Sourced from Flikr.com. Repreoduced under Creative Commons agreement.

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12 thoughts on “Ageing; a Jagged Little Pill”

  1. What a great post! I found at one point in my life time seemed to stand still and after having children it’s been on fast forward and time has gone to quickly! What wonderful memories to keep though! Thank you for linking on #wineandboobs

  2. Ageing is such a mixed bag for me too. There are certainly noticeable changes physically. Emotionally though I am freer than ever before. What I notice the most is my children growing up. They are still at that age where they need me and think I am reasonably cool but they wont be there for long. Time with the children can feel like water slipping through your fingers. Great post. #MMWBH

    1. Yes, water slipping through the fingers. I like that anology, sad though it is. Every moment must be savoured.

  3. As someone not far behind you, 7 months shy of 40 age is nothing but a number and I sometimes think having my kids has regressed me, I act like a fool much more than I would have 20/25 years ago when all I wanted was to be seen as a serious adult. I play stupid games, laugh more and in many ways enjoy my life more.

    Having said that I’d sell my soul to go back to my teenage years for one last visit and re live a few moments with the knowledge I have now 🙂

    1. Woah, to live those teenaged years with the knowledge I have now. That would be awesome, yet dangerous in equal measures.

  4. “Time goes by so slowly and time can do so much.”

    What did The Righteous Brothers know, anyway? Time doesn’t just fly when you’re having fun, it flies as you get older too. It’s hard to believe that JLP is 20 years old – I remember well buying it the week it was released, and listening it now it still has a timeless quality to it. I wonder if, like us, Morissette has grown out of her angry youth and mellowed? I wonder what she thinks when she looks back on those callow days?

    Do I have regrets about the things I didn’t do back then? Absolutely. But equally life has brought me so much to enrich my life that I never anticipated. Not so much a Jagged Little Pill as a double-edged sword, perhaps?

    1. Looking at the positives Tim, I like your outlook. It’s true, I have so much in my life that enriches it and I should celebrate the fact.

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  6. Fiona @ Free Range Chick

    There is definitely something in the air today, John. I wrote a post this morning on time and just how terrifying I find the concept.

    It’s funny, I never really had the sense that time was flying when I was in my early 20s. But as 30 approached, it started to get on top of me. I started to feel the pressures of various metaphorical ticking clocks – the clocks for marriages, children and ascending career ladders. Suddenly, time wasn’t on my side any longer.

    Now, in my mid-30s, time feels like it is my enemy. Truly.

    Like Tim, I don’t have regrets about the bonkers stuff that I did when I was young, nor do I regret supposed lost opportunities. I’m happy with the destination I’m at now, and if I had taken different paths, I may not have ended up at this destination. I just wish that I could press ‘pause’ so that I can savour this time instead of watching it fly by.

    1. I like this. I wish to savour the time instead of watching it fly by too. I do sometimes feel like I live my life at a frenetic pace.

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