Greg Howard is a professional fine artist specialising in atmospheric, dramatic landscapes in watercolour & soft pastel. His work can be found in collections worldwide and he is a sought after tutor due to his easy going, informative no nonsense approach to the medium.

Well it is on a sombre note that I write today for tomorrow I will be dragged kicking and screaming into my 4th decade of existence. Yep, it’s the big one, the big 4 0 - I will officially be middle-aged and my wife & kids and everyone else it would appear seem to have suddenly come across a bumper selection of old fogey jokes…whoopee for me!


People react to hitting 40 in a number of ways. Some have a meltdown and become extremely depressed and others will go all out in an attempt to prove that they are still as youthful and exuberant as they were at the age of 21 and usually end up in hospital. Me…well I am quietly thoughtful about the future and actively developing a healthy sense of cynicism about it would seem almost everything – is this normal?


I have always been a very ambitious person, you know the type -wants to be a millionaire by the time they are 30, retired by 40 and living on a yacht in the Caribbean etc. I have in fact achieved neither of these things but the scary thing is that it does not actually bother me anymore, my ambition has been tempered or possibly worn down by real life and I find I no longer have the same type of aspirations. I am by all accounts fairly happy with my lot in life – I live in the Lake District which is one of the most beautiful places in the country, if not the world.  I make my living doing something I love doing and I don’t have to answer to a boss (except my wife) as I run the company. That’s not bad really!


However for some inexplicable reason I still feel this undercurrent of foreboding that seems to have attached itself to me like chewing gum on the bottom of your shoe as the big day has got closer. People who know me will have heard me say before that dying as such does not bother me but getting old scares the crap out of me and I guess as from Thursday I will officially have crested the accent on life’s roller coaster and be on my way down to the eventual depravity that is old age (and there is the cynicism I mentioned before!).


However one saving grace with hitting this mile stone is that I have received my metaphorical coupon that states I am now entitled to have one mid-life crisis. So, shall I buy a Harley Davidson, maybe start wearing a leather jacket again and re-form the rock band I was in in my youth (see - I can say that now!) or perhaps I will do something really stupid like quit conventional work life and become a full-time artist…no wait, forgot I have already done that last one! Guess I will have to have a think about what to do a little longer then – anyone know when the official expiration date is on mid-life crises?


Life begins at 40 they say! However have you ever noticed that the people who say that always say “they say” it’s never “my life began at 40”.  I also think that the new statement that “50 is the new 40” is more than a little suspicious. Does that mean that all these people suddenly realised when they hit 50 that the “life” they were expecting to start at 40 did not actually materialize so they tacked an extra 10 years hoping that it was just a glitch or is that me being cynical again?


One thing I will say is that it is really scary how life goes by and how age creeps up on you. I have started noticing little things that have changed as well as a few little habits that I have developed that are now starting to worry me. For example:

  • Time goes by so much quicker now than it used to. It’s almost like someone has pressed the fast forward button on my life and I am struggling to keep up.
  • I have developed a major peppermint habit. I did quit smoking last year but I do not think that this habit is necessarily as a direct result of that.
  • It is now officially pervy for me to look at a young twenty something girl and say she’s hot! In fact I have now quietly accepted that even if I was single and free I know for a fact that these girls would have absolutely no interest in an old codger like me anyway. Depressing but true!
  • I can now say I have friends that I have known for over thirty years and that really makes me feel old!
  • A great deal of the music I likewas produced by bands or artists that are either retired or dead.
  • I have developed a healthy sense of self-loathing at my naked reflection.
  • I now have grey hairs even though I am bald as it seems I now have hair growing from every bloody orifice on my body.
  • I frequently go to bed before 11pm.
  • Hangovers last days instead of hours which is probably why I drink very little these days.
  • I seem to have developed a phobia to teenagers, loud music, late nights and various other things for no logical reason.


Anyway I could go on and on which is another new thing I do quite frequently as I am sure my wife would testify to but you get the idea.


Anyway time for me to log off and prepare my mind and body for the inevitable onslaught of sarcasm destined to come my way tomorrow.  Thanks for reading and once you have stopped laughing if you want to cheer me up stop reading this drivel and go and buy one of my paintings!

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