36: A thought experiment to kick your ass1 minute read

Yesterday I was 28. Today I am 36 years old.

I woke up this morning and I’d lost 8 years in a dreamless sleep. In the mirror, my face was a little more lined, a little thinner, my eyes a little duller. But not much had changed. I’d just lost 8 years of beating-heart life.

36 is a believable age. I could feel, today at 36, just like I did yesterday at 28. I know people who are 36 and they are not much different to me as I was yesterday. So why not?

8 years is a long time. Think of it all, reeling away behind me, all those days, suns and moons. And I’ve done nothing with it. I just woke up this morning, 36 years old, 8 years down.

Hits me in the guts, thinking of all the things I could have done if I hadn’t been asleep. I want to cry, I want to jump and run, I want to eat the world and leave marks.

I know I’m not 36 years old. But I could be soon and it needn’t be an 8-year dreamless sleep that I lose to.

The next 8 years I could lose on Facebook, in supermarkets, bored or brainless. I panic.

It’s a thought experiment.

But there is a deadline to life. Impending panic is a shock to start an engine. I feel it in my groin, in my guts.

So what is it? What thing would I jump to do if I did wake up aged 36 tomorrow? What one thing would make me think: “Fuck! Why didn’t I just do this sooner?”

Published by

David

David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at davidcharles.info.

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