Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Stability and growing old

I was sat with Louise (my other half, is it me or does “partner” offer the possibility that, I, Sam, may be a woman, anyway…), we were sat in the lovely LEAF bar down Bold Street in Liverpool when a trendy couple sat down next to us. I could instantly tell they were trendy, they were everything I want to be, fail to be and consequently hate. He wore a fashionable shirt, well fitting and tasteful with ironic thick rimmed glasses and hair sculpted into a post-modern interpretation of 80s style. She wore a flower print dress with a lobsided haircut dyed quirkily, makeup applied deliberately too thick and an inability to sit on a chair properly. They were cool, and they knew they were cool, apart from that didn’t make them uncool. How I hated them. Yet more hate was to follow, as the following conversation took place.

Girl: God you’re like, huh, yeah, so, like, old.

Guy: Yeah, I feel old, things are getting serious for me now, cos you’re what?

Girl: Twenty.

Guy: Twenty was good for me.

Girl: So how old are you?

Guy: Well, don’t laugh (we’ll try not to you smug twat), I’m twenty three.

Yes. Twenty three. He followed this up by lamenting the passing of his youth for nearly twenty minutes while I held back an overwhelming desire to force feed my squid salad into his smug mouth hoping he had a seafood allergy.

Later when I was alone, flicking through facebook I stumbled on old photos of me from my youth and I started to think, god, that’s nearly ten years ago. I saw school photos, pictures from the first year of university, moments prior to me vomitting in multi colours.

I started to panic, maybe it was over for me now, maybe this is the point where I should accept that life is over. It was made worse by reading  facebook conversations (damn you facebook and your archiving) to discover what I was like in these times. Had I been aware that the impending misery of old age was a stones throw away? When I was 23 did I know that after my next birthday I’d be asking people not to laugh? Was I as trendy as them?

The short answer is no.

In fact at first glance I was a twat. Reading back those messages to ex’s, friends, brief non lovers, random aquaintances, it is clear to me that I just was a twat. Albeit a loveable twat, but still someone who fumbled through life, with no idea what he wanted, no direction, trying to lead from his head but often leading with his heart. I let people down, I disappointed them, I was absent when I should have been around, and I constantly, and I mean constantly said the wrong thing at the wrong time.

This was a disturbing discovery, I’d always thought I was, well, cool, but no..
Alas I was not.

I started thinking about occasions that influenced me, that highlighted this, I thought about my final year of Uni when out clubbing a girl had asked me for my number and I had replied, “you can have it another time or guess it.” And that was a girl I liked. What was wrong with me then?

I was feeling increasingly unhappy with this appraisal of my life but then I remembered other little bits, taking someone a cup of tea who lived 20 mins away by making tea and walking round, comforting friends who’d been dumped time after time, clearing the sick of a flatmate  off the walls, stairs and carpet of the house when he was ill and the next morning when he asked if he was sick last night saying ‘no, you went straight to sleep’.

The thing is these aren’t behaviours of a bona fide twat, these are the actions of a misguided fool.

People imagine that getting older is a bad thing but I’d disagree, sure I made loads of mistakes when I was younger, had all of the desires but not of the right answers to get them, but they made me who I am now, a better person than 3, 5, 10 years ago for sure, and if the mistakes are naive mistakes that never happen again, if I learn from them, life can only get better.

I can see the errors of my past lives, friendships and events, life’s not going to get any easier, but I think I’m content now I’ve accepted time passing, that planning a direction is impossible and sometimes living for now is fine, and I can be happy with where I am, sat talking with beautiful Louise about the naive couple beside us.

Willing them to choke on their frappachinos…

Goodnight x