Sunday, October 10, 2010

Late twenties blues

He was one of those miserable men of about twenty-eight, which is a very bad age to be in authority, too old to be generous and too young to be wise.
-- Peter Walker, The Courier's Tale

At twenty-nine, Hamilton had passed into that border country where middle age is still remote, but where failure (for the ambitious) can scarcely be afforded.
-- Christopher Koch, The Year of Living Dangerously


If these people are right, it might be better to go straight from 27 to 30, like those buildings in New York that have no thirteenth floor.

Not that this is of the slightest relevance to me. Besides, I remember 28 and 29 as pretty good. A tad desperada, but pretty good.

13 comments:

TimT said...

27-30 was good for me, though I suppose I don't really fit in the 'ambitious' category.

Novelists sound all very wise and knowing when they come up with these bon mots but sometimes I think they just make it up.

Guess I'll know when I write a novel.

On another matter, I fished around on the internet for the link, but I couldn't find it - what was that law you made up? 'Goldsworthy's law?' 'Pavlov's principle'? I used what seemed the most likely term in this post.

Anthony said...

I remember 28-29 always being referred to as "Saturn returning" and being the source of lots of angst. I was in my early 30s when a colleague turned 29 and I pointed out to him that from this moment on he would always be closer to 40 than 18. This seemed to depress him no end. My work there was done.

ThirdCat said...

I felt very grown up at the time, because a few grown up things had happened by then. Which, as I type, has kind of given me the shivers, because at a similar stage in my thirties I also felt a bit more grown up than I wanted to be. Fark, will it never end?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Um, no.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

TimT, your link, she no verk. There have been a number of Pav's Laws, I think.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

TimT: was it this one?

TimT said...

Well I tried 'Pavlov's Law' and of course came up with posts about the Russian psych and his dogs. So I had to try other roundabout google searches, like 'Pavlov's Cat Law', etc.

That will do nicely, thanks!

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

You can do searches within Blogger blogs -- the search thingy is at the left-hand end of the toolbar immediately above the header, with the orange Blogger logo next to it.

ThirdCat said...

I guess at least when I'm 48 I'll be prepared. wv = spine

cristy said...

I spent that period breeding. It seemed to work out quite well that way - suspending ambition completely and all that.

Mindy said...

What Cristy said. Not a bad way of getting through it!

innercitygarden said...

I also spent that period breeding and breastfeeding. Many of my friends had a late twenties angsty period, they'd finished uni (or they were doing PhDs) and they'd found jobs and responsibilities but not partners and babies. Obviously not all of my friends wanted partners and babies, they weren't the angsty ones. I think the ones who did want babies generally didn't want to start immediately, they wanted to know it was definitely going to happen in the next few years, that they wouldn't run out of time.

It's probably no co-incidence that many of my friends, having been quite high acheivers as undergraduates, got to 28 or so and realised they had not yet taken the world by storm and then fell in a bit of a funk.

elsewhere said...

I remember you quoting these at Greg Murrie during some kind of departmental party. They've clearly made an impact on you.

I remember the late 20s, early 30s being pretty good too, the time before Life Got Serious.