I was 46 earlier this year. Some people start to fret at this sort of age. Not me. I love being this age. I had some fun in my youth but nothing that compares to the state of contentment that middle age has brought me. The insecurities, uncertainties and desperate fumbling for identity that defined a great deal of my teens, twenties and thirties have melted away into a blissful state of resignation. I am resigned to the injustices that life sometimes deals out. I am resigned to the futility of it all. And best of all, I am resigned to myself: all of my flaws, contradictions, mistakes and ugly bits.
The most powerful thing I’ve ever done is look deeply and honestly at the slightly shit parts of myself, the bits that I spent so much time and energy trying to hide or suppress when I was younger, and just accept them. And I’m not even that old yet. I figure this state of enlightenment will only get better as time trudges on. The wrinkles, aches and pains I will accumulate in the years ahead should be compensated by an ever- higher state of consciousness. What I’m trying to say is that I am bang up for old age. Bring it on, I say.
At this age, many of the shows I watch are about people much younger than me. Last year I marveled at I May Destroy You and Industry: powerful and enlightening shows that, while brilliant and compelling, left me thinking, “Thank fuck I’m not that age any more.”
At the moment I am watching a show about people older than myself that makes me actually look forward to ageing. In The Kominsky Method, Michael Douglas is an acting coach who never quite made it on the big screen. His best pal is a curmudgeonly, recently widowed showbiz agent played by Alan Arkin. It is a funny but sometimes brutal portrayal of life’s autumnal years. Loss, grief, regret, prostate problems, heart attacks and erectile dysfunction all play their part. It’s no tea-party– but all of it is tackled with honesty, humour and a lack of sentimentality.
What’s beautiful is the friendship of the two protagonists. Two men, struggling through the minor indignities and petty disappointments of life with a shrug and a smirk, helping each other along the way with unforgiving candour and a grumpy love.
I hope I have a friendship or two like that by the time I’m a grizzly old codger. As time goes by we all start to show the cuts and bruises that life has dished out- allowing our relationships to be more honest, open and soulful. That’s the message that sits at the big heart of The Kominsky Method – a show so warm and life-affirming it’s got me almost hankering for my OAP bus pass.