19 June, 2006

Yours sincerely, wasting away

Yesterday, Paul McCartney reached that age. Yes, one of the two surviving Beatles turned 64, and in a cruel twist of fate this milestone comes just weeks after the announcement that he and Heather Mills are to divorce. Ironically, McCartney's famous song When I'm 64 was all about questioning whether a loving relationship would last through to old age.

Paul McCartney turned 26 years old the day I was born in Islington Hospital in London on 18 June 1968. I've long harboured a suspicion that I share his name for this very reason, though my mother claims otherwise. This in spite of the fact that when I was growing up we had a stack of Beatles records on vinyl stowed away in a cupboard (I recall specifically Sergeant Pepper, Rubber Soul and Revolver), all apparently purchased when they were first released. Hmmm.

Now that I'm 38, I'm really starting to feel my age. Last month I visited a doctor for the first time in over ten years and, after a barrage of tests, was diagnosed as suffering from asthma. I'm more accutely aware of my own mortality than ever.

As a child, birthdays were something wonderful to look forward to, counting off the weeks and days until the special day. I remember being especially pleased that my birthday fell almost exactly midway between Christmases, so at most there was only ever at most a six month gap between receiving presents. That sort of thing's important when you're a child.

In recent years birthdays have become for me a far less appealing prospect. Not because of the presents - I love the Doctor Who birthday cake Rochelle secretly arranged to have made for me, and the gifts from her are, as always, so well chosen that they're all things I was planning to buy myself (the Family Guy DVD box set, a book about the making of the new Battlestar Galactica series and a Star Wars novel) - but because I'm reminded that I'm a year older, though not necessarily a year wiser.

Though I've every intention that Rochelle and I will still be together, when I'm 64.

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