19 May 2017

Quarter-Century

I can't speak for everyone, but I've always relished turning another year older. When I was little, I was mostly excited for receiving a mountain of presents. In my late teens, I looked forward to earning my independence and the privileges of adulthood (albeit conveniently ignoring the accompanying grown-up responsibilities). Lately however, I've simply enjoyed knowing that with each passing year, I'm a better man than the year before. I learn a little more, I enjoy new experiences, and I progress in both the working and social aspects of my life. For me, there's nothing worse than standing still and watching life crawl slowly by.

Joseph Kent

Today I passed the quarter-century milestone, and I couldn't be more grateful for where I am in life, and for all my wonderful friends and family, from whom I've received the loveliest birthday messages. Tonight I'm going with my best friend to see Metronomy at the O2 Brixton Academy, and tomorrow I'm officially celebrating my ageing with a generous helping of ten-pin bowling and rock 'n' rolling.

No question about it, I have oodles more confidence than I did ten years ago. But if I have any hang-ups at the age of twenty-five, there are two:

The first is my body. While I take great pride in my outward appearance, I would never describe myself as "well-built". Beneath the clothes is a slight frame, which has until only recently started to appear vaguely masculine, quite possibly due to carrying heavy loads of grocery shopping. My dad had a similar physique in his youth, but his love for sports was in his favour; I'm afraid I prefer less strenuous hobbies! Sometimes I stand in front of my bedroom mirror wearing only black boxer trunks, and I'm content with what I see. Most of the time, however, I take too much notice of my skinny arms, narrow chest, and general lacking of muscular definiton.

Of course, I understand I have the means to change this. This morning I went swimming for the first time in years, which felt more daunting than it needed to be, considering everybody else in the pool was also semi-naked and quietly getting on with their exercise. I'll never be a gym buff, and I'll never want to run a marathon, but a weekly swim and plenty of walking might provide a gradual improvement to both my physique and self-esteem.

The second hang-up is romance - a topic I hadn't thought to speak about publicly. I've been a single man for six years, I've only had the one girlfriend, and I've become so comfortable in the company of my female friends, that I became apathetic to the thought of dating. On a much deeper level, I had somehow persuaded myself that I was only ever friendship material, and I was destined to a lonely life with numerous cats. Although given how much I already adore furry felines, this prospective future didn't sound too awful.

In fact, I had persuaded myself of this so much, that when a beautiful and charismatic woman showed a genuine interest in me on a night out, I was in genuine shock - at least for the first fifteen minutes. It was the wake-up call I needed. And now that I'm closer to thirty years old than twenty, I would like to find that special somebody missing from my life, and hopefully they won't mind us having numerous cats anyway. Either way, it's going to take a lot more confidence on my part to get there.

Turning twenty-five - it isn't perfect, but I'm very much looking forward to the year ahead. Everything I do is to better myself and always to improve my confidence. And provided I don't lose my hair any time soon, I think I'll be alright. Thank you for the birthday wishes.

© Joseph Kent / www.unlimitedbyjk.com

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