READER REPORT:

My 10-year-old self would hate me

DEREK SEYMOUR
Last updated 09:46 21/02/2013

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I was looking at a picture of myself on Facebook the other day taken at primary school.

What would my 10-year-old self think of me now?

I dread to think.

I'm now a middle-aged white man approaching my 42nd birthday.

I believed it when people told me my 40s would be the best years of my life.

Like hell liars!

My gut has expanded. Even eating a raw carrot sends a message to my brain to hoard the calories in fat stores in case I never eat again.

My hair has receded in to a widow's peak. My heart regularly skips beats and indigestion seems a constant companion. Sharp pains travel across my navel like meteor storms.

When I catch myself looking in mirrors in shop windows, I scowl and appear demented. I have a thousand-yard stare, and security guards follow me around.

I also talk to myself while walking to the supermarket.

Sometimes I laugh out loud to no one in particular. It draws looks. That's one improvement I suppose, my inner life has improved.

I've never been a "people person" but my tolerance for other people has diminished to the point where a few minutes of so-called convivial dinner party chatter leaves me exhausted, angry, and pining for solitude. 

Am I the only sane person left?

I'm not exactly a happy-chappy since my early teens, my once minimal joie de vivre has been superseded by an ever present focus on death.

A heavy drinker, and a prodigious smoker, I know the health statistics. There's no doubt about it, I'm a time bomb with a short fuse and the clock is ticking towards zero. I've set my sights on making 60. But the truth is I could keel over at any moment.

I wonder when and where it will happen? Probably not whilst I'm asleep, knowing me. I'll be awake for the whole painful thing.

Where once life's possibilities seemed to stretch out towards a limitless horizon, I now stand on a crumbling precipice staring into an abyss of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, rotten teeth, impotency, kidney failure, and shrivelled testicles.

Apart from the health there are the failed careers, failed qualifications, failed marriages, failed relationships, debt, and an ever-growing list of enemies.

It's bleak. As an atheist, I don't even have the afterlife and a hundred virgins to look forward to.

Will I be a brave little soldier on my death bed thanking the nurses with a stoic smile on my face, making jokes about my colostomy bag? No. I'll be a snivelling wreck, pleading for mercy.

No, there's little doubt about it. My 10 year old self would hate me.

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He abhorred smoking for one thing. But you know what? I don't care. I'm beyond caring now.

I've also become incredibly selfish and resigned to it all. I push that 10-year-old boy's dreams down. What did he know anyway?

I need a smoke.


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