It happens if we are really lucky, and it is certainly not something to be taken for granted in this dangerous wonderful world of ours. If we are lucky and the our cells prevail against the many assaults of the enemy we might, just might, get old.
Now, the outward signs of this are clearer. For me, I have rather an alarming amount of grey hair atop my bonce. Although I still can't grow a beard or 'tache with any conviction, those hairs that do gather in those places are already poking out whiter rather than the brown and russets of former years. The person looking out of the mirror at me at 7 in the morning is a frightful sight (and the one at noon not much better). I have these interesting semi-circles of pointless skin forming under my eyes and the skin on my hands doesn't ping back to shape quite so quickly.
I am soon to turn forty!
However, it is the internal stuff that happens which surprises me. Only mere decades ago, I would sit and watch Neighbours and Home and Away (when they were good). I would enjoy watching American Wrestling (in the days when Hulk Hogan was a 3000lb beast). I could lie on my stinking bed (at that time a single-sized one) and wile away hours just listening to Eddie Van Halen or my beloved Metallica. Viz Comics were the highlight of the week, closely followed by The Bill (RIP The Bill).
And then it happened, by utter stealth.
One day I found myself watching Countryfile. One day I took off an Aerosmith record and put Bach on instead. Yesterday, while pawing over a newspaper, my heart leapt when I discovered that Francesco da Mosto was on telly with another wonderful programme about Italy (this week, Verona - hubbah). I look at yoofs and raise eyebrows, regarding them as trouble-incarnate. I am becoming more fixated upon order than edgy experiment. I enjoy tending my garden, not simply lying on the grass turning livid red in the sun with a cold one sat beside me.
Now it must be observed that theological college is to blame in great part for this. Oddly, at theological college, it is a race to reach the pinnacles of absolute theological-college-cool - to wear tweed, smoke a pipe and talk
bollocks rubbish like one knows what one is talking about, what what. Cupboards that would have housed hoodies are quickly stuffed full of the most awful liturgical muck and instead of a good pint, it is the custom of one to libate upon litres of gin, don't ya know. In short, theological college foreshortens the ageing process to the factor of ten.
Seriously though, it is interesting how we grow and mature. I didn't choose to enjoy Countryfile - but I do. I didn't choose to enjoy programmes about Verona - but I do. Moreover, I don't remembering choosing to regard American Wrestling as a rather daft enterprise. I don't remember suddenly thinking that drinking voddy out of a milk carton in a park was wrong but ... actually, I never drank voddy out of a milk carton, anywhere.
It's all a little strange, don't you think?!