I am speechlessly, bizarrely excited. That 'something coming' feeling in the solar plexus that spring or nothing you can put your finger on at all brings on. There is spring, of course, and the sense of everything freeing up (but I wouldn't be me if I didn't know that winter is coming back this weekend and that'll be it for the blossom and the frogspawn in the pond, probably). But my inner buzz isn't that, it's the letter I got yesterday about my pension. My old age pension, that is. It used to be called that before the old became senior and even more ignorable.
In July I will receive £86.35 a week as a prize for getting this old. Neither the state (which holds my medical records) nor I expected me to get here. No one I imagine believes in themselves as a pensioner. But it's weirdly exciting. Not just the prospect of free bus journeys and cheaper tickets to the cinema on certain rainy afternoons, but the fact of being officially old. An old age pensioner, when I haven't really figured out what it means to be 40 yet.
I'm terribly behind myself. I have no idea how to dress or behave and nature, as usual, is not taking care of it. Still, I feel I'm about to be 'let off'. A cloud of inconsequentiality will descend on me. I'll be passing the time rather than working out how to live through it. I'll be looking back, adding it all up, figuring out if it was worth it, and I will be living in the future not planning it. It's arrived, and here I am with my £86.35, accounted for and free to drift into oblivion. There might be years to come (I am not yet so old that I don't buy green bananas for fear that I won't see them ripen), but they will all be the same. Once you're old, you can only get older which is not what people mean by change. Nothing else will happen to me. I've been waiting decades to make sure that will be the case, and here I am. Floating. Purposeless - at any rate permitted now to be purposeless. Pointlessness has always been a dangerous hole for me to look into, but now I'm beginning to see that I might be able to sidle up to it and peer contentedly straight down into its bleak depths with no more than a heigh ho. Or at any rate a ho hum.