Apparently people in the UK perceive their thirties as being the most stressful decade of their lives: they are possibly juggling small children and a career and doing neither job as well as they thought they would.
The average person in their twenties is having too great a time racking up STDs, liver disease and mental health problems for their futures to be worried about their overall life achievements, still convinced that they can do anything they choose, as soon as they have finished their kebab.
In your thirties, the chickens start peeping over the hedge and then coming home to roost. This is the time when people realise that unless they radically change things, they are never going to be a millionaire (unless super-inflation takes a hand), they've probably kissed goodbye to ever having a six-pack and their girlfriend / boyfriend isn't likely to win Miss / Mr World and there is no point in dumping them to go and find a stallion / fox that is truly worthy, until they themselves have got rid of their paunch and cleared up their little problem down below.
Apparently it's the forties when we finally accept who we are and know our own limitations and what we are good at and what we really can't be bothered to change.
Which is why I finally get to my point - I used to presume I would be an Olympian. I loved anything energetic - running, football, throwing, whatever. In my twenties, I deferred my fourteen hour a day training schedule, preferring to concentrate on talking and lager. In my thirties, I clung to the stories about people who only took up marathon running in their fifities and still won everything, thinking that would still be OK.
Now I'm 42, I am technically at one with myself, and as I shuffle between the kettle and the sofa, hooking out the occasional grey pube as I go, I can watch those Olympians with no regret whatsoever, knowing in my heart that there was never going to be a place in my life for 5a.m starts or being on the river by 6. And anyway, I have three children: they are lucky enough to have my genes - they can bloody do it...
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