My colleague Ian Gotts has a post today about becoming 50 this week. Which reminded me of a milestone moment from my own life last week...
I was taking the train into London, relishing 40 minutes of dead time when I could savour a book I'd bought the previous week - the incomparable 'The Importance of Being Earnest'.
In the seats in front of me sat a couple with two small children. The one year old noticed me as I sat down and I found myself playing Boo! over the seat top. Which he found highly amusing, so it wasn't long until his 3 year old sister wanted to join in. The parents were exhausted as they'd recently arrived from Australia, and relieved that their children were safe and content. They drifted into a jetlag coma, leaving me as the entertaining clown. With a signal failure delay along the way, it was almost an hour later that we pulled into Paddington. Which is a lot of Boos! I was exhausted.
The father leaned across to thank me and said: "You must have grandchildren."
My smile was fixed but my head was spinning. It was a body blow. Grandparent?? Excuse me, can't you see that I'm not much beyond 25?? How could a youth like me have grandchildren?? Do you have a problem with your eyes??
"No, not yet", I replied sweetly.
It turned out that they too were going to Charing Cross, so we travelled on together by tube across London. A lovely young family who insisted that I visit them one day on their farm in Western Australia. They had no idea how they had punctured my vanity (I'm 57) and inadvertently helped me pass another milestone in my life.