I am thirty-two years old. My last relationship broke up because I wasn't twenty-seven instead*. Shame. It hit me quite hard afterwards that actually, I am never going to be twenty-seven again; and that I'm only going to get older from here on in - what sort of a stupid system is that?! Time is annoyingly, rigidly, out-datedly linear; like analogue television. As a child who came of age during the digital revolution (I'm a paid-up member of the "On Demand" generation), having to conform to a linear schedule that proceeds in a ruler-straight line from birth to death just doesn't do it for me.
But there it is: I am never going to be twenty-seven again.
Or, to put it another way: this is as young and as free as I'll ever be.
That simple statement of truth can be an uplifting affirmation or a despairing lament, depending on my mood.
Some days I am so grateful for the incredible freedoms I enjoy - the freedom to work (even though it doesn't always feel like a "freedom", I never forget that it is a hard-won privilege), the freedom to be independent; to travel; to earn money and buy things that make my life comfortable and enjoyable. The freedom to choose a partner (and the freedom to reject inappropriate ones). The freedom to wear colourful sundresses - or indeed, whatever I choose. The incredible freedom of having time that is my own and the freedom to do whatever I like with it; which I never take for granted (even though I waste a lot of it lolling about doing bugger all).
The freedom to ride a bike.
The freedom to sunbathe.
The freedom to walk around a city by myself.
The freedom to drive along the coast (although it's been a long time since I took advantage of this one).
The freedom to listen to my favourite music.
The freedom to explore the internet.
...and other days, I just wish I was twenty-seven again.
*I hasten to add that it wasn't a case of my ex wanting to trade me in for a younger model - shame on you for thinking I would waste my time on that kind of guy! - it's just that we are at very different stages in our lives and couldn't reconcile the gap.