How many odes do we hear sung to childhood, adolescence and youth? People dread the words 'middle aged' or 'old'. Personal experience has convinced me that the first few decades of life are the toughest. Is it only me who feels that way? I remember as a young person counting my years and despairing at how long I had before I could go to that blissful sleep. I could not understand why people said 'life is so short'. If you asked me, it seemed to stretch endlessly with no sight in end. I even calculated how long I'd have to live if I were to believe my 'horrorscope'. The world would not see the last me until 2042. Somehow my 40s had a very liberating effect on me. Life eased out in many ways. Time which earlier seemed to weigh on my hands, despite plenty of things to do, suddenly seemed to fly, when I was fairly relaxed. Today I was teaching (and I have come to view these moments when I am teaching or learning as moments of ephphany! ) and there was a text about Hamburg in 2030. 2030 seemed far enough (I was still looking at the year through the mental lenses of year 2000), till it suddenly occurred to me that it is only 12 years away! And then 2042 - just 22 years away? That hardly seems to be any time at all, when one thinks of how time seems to fly these days. Am I scared? No. It just seems to be so surreal - even the shops around me looked surreal as I drove back home after that moment of realization. Do I have plenty to accomplish before I get there? I don't know. I can only do whatever it is I have to do everyday. Yes, there are 1 or 2 major jobs to be done so I don't end up troubling anybody after me. Other than that, it is just the mundane business of living (and now I use this word consciously which is quite different from the 'existence' of my younger days), enjoying myself and ..... well, just being. No Nobel Prize to be won, no world changes to be brought about. One more thing learned through personal experience. Life is indeed short. Q.E.D.