Asking how old I am is one of the most frequently asked questions I get when I’m doing author visits to schools.
Kids seem to have an innate desire to discover how many sun revolutions you’ve made it through and then when you reveal to them the exact number they proceed to tell you how you are - quote - “Well old”.
To be fair - numerically I am 41 now and have had a very clear bald spot forming for a while. (Thanks for the genetics Dad).
There can be no doubt about the mathematics of either my birth certificate or my waistline. In the eyes of a primary aged pupil I’m in the same epoch as the T-Rex.
It’s easy to see how someone smaller may see me as very much past it. That is, until they consider what I’m like on stage. Jumping about; sweating profusely in a ludicrous stage outfit; pulling funny faces; making odd noises... The list goes on. I might be the shape and size of a regular grown up - but I certainly don’t behave like one. Confusion starts to appear on their little pre-mortgaged faces. “He’s not behaving like he should!! Miss! I don’t understand!!”
And why should I?
As the saying goes - there’s nothing more certain than death and taxes. Utterly depressing - unless you press the pause button on your insides. 6 year old me cared not for these things. 41 year old me recognises they exist but has got really good at parking them.
Why shouldn’t we have fun while we can? Have a giggle - take the time for some nonsense - spend an hour as I did recently with a class of year 5’s working out if elephants could ever be trained to use litter trays and whether or not that could be a marketable product? (Dragons Den watch out - we’re coming...)
I didn’t used to worry about climate change, bills, knife crime, war, nuclear proliferation, the energy crisis or even the price of a Freddo (Mum covered that most of the time). Being six on the inside really is a massive comfort from the world that refuses to deliver a smile.
So this week - a celebration of that very idea from the first ever poetry collection I received (possibly as a Christening present? I’ll confirm that and get back to you). From “Now We Are Six” by A.A Milne - “The End” is so called presumably because it is the final piece in the thirty five piece collection. What better way to sign off a book of poetry?
When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six,
I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.