The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

12 Years To 50 …
June 12, 2008, 7:45 am
Filed under: Comment

Just your basic coffin clip art Photo: Jim Frazier

Yep, today I am officially just 12 little years away from hitting the big 5.0.

That’s even more frightening than just being 2 years off 40 or the fact that according to latest figures, I have almost reached the official ‘halfway point’ of my entire life.

And yet, while I am a bald bastard, with bad eyes and white hairs sprouting out of my face – I cannot believe I have reached this age.

Keith Richards Photo: Chorosky

Oh hang on, that sounds like I’m claiming to have lived such a life of debauchery that it’s amazing I didn’t die years ago … and as dodgy as I look, the fact is I’ve never done drugs or fags and haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since I was 15 … so what I am trying to say is that basically I cannot believe I am at this age.

I should explain that doesn’t mean I go out acting like some 21 year old … nor does it mean I do all I can to ‘look’ young [and if I did, I think it would be fair to say I’ve failed, ha] … it’s just that mentally I feel [and sort-of believe] I’m around 28.

I don’t really know why this is the case – maybe it’s because I am a delusional old bastard or maybe it’s because my life took some dramatic twists and turns when I was around 25 and always felt that’s when I became ‘an adult’ – but regardless of the reason, it opens up some interesting issues for me to contend with.

One of them is Fatherhood.

Baby at RestΒ Photo: Robert Evans

You see I have always wanted to be a Dad … infact when I was a teenager, I was interested in adopting [!!!] … however while I am now at an age where I am supposedly more mature and financially strong [not to mention finally being married] – my desire to become a Father is less dramatic.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to become a Dad – and I know I will be in the near[ish] future – it’s just that I feel abit conflicted because whilst I know a child should be next on my agenda, it just isn’t. At least not yet.

This could be because having got married less than a year ago, I am enjoying spending a selfish amount of time with my wife [and cat] … or it could be that despite many of my friends being happy and proud parents, my oldest and dearest friend also isn’t a Dad yet so my situation doesn’t seem that strange … or there’s the fact that after a life of ‘semi-struggle’ I am now in a position where [within reason] I can afford most of the things I want, even if I don’t act upon those desires very often [plus have generally cheap tastes. Except in technology, ha!] … however whilst there may elements of all these things behind my change in attitude, I think the core reason is because – as I said earlier – I believe I am much younger than my actual years so have somehow convinced myself that at ’28’, I’m too young to become a Dad.

Mad eh!

The thing is, I know having a child – be it at 28 or 58 – wouldn’t stop you achieving anything.

Sure things/goals may change, but it’s not like life stops – infact it grows – so when you take into account that [1] the goals I have in life can be just as easily achieved with a child as without [2] I’ve never have wanted to be an ‘old Dad’ and [3] I really do want to be a Father, I know I’m being a bloody fool and will have to address this issue pretty soon.

I should point out that when I say “I have to address this issue soon” it’s because I am 38 years of age – it’s certainly not because my wonderful [and younger] wife is putting pressure on me.

The other issue that my ‘real age’ brings up is professional.

JOB LADDER Photo: Zan Gato

Let me start by saying I have never been one of those people with a career plan … the sort of person who devises their professional journey till retirement with military precision.

For me I’ve always been happy as long as I felt I was being challenged and doing things I found interesting.

Don’t think that doesn’t mean I’m not ambitious – I am – it’s just that I’ve always gauged my success on achievement rather than title.

However here’s the thing – sometimes I have found myself looking at other people in the industry and thinking I am doing pretty well in comparison – only to remember I’m actually a decade older than I think I am so have actually achieved pretty much the same as everyone else, if not slightly less. [I am talking professionally here, I’ve never been competitive interms of material possession]

Of course evaluating ‘achievements’ is a highly ambiguous area [is it agencies you’ve worked with or clients? brands or campaigns? ads or business?] plus there’s the undisputable fact that none of it actually fucking matters [especially if I am doing the things I want to do which is a privilege in itself] however what I do find interesting/confronting is that this highlights just how insecure I am – especially where work is concerned.

You see throughout my advertising career I’ve always felt abit of a fraud.

Some of that is because I’ve generally only worked at agencies with great reputations so felt any success was more due to the brilliance of the agency than anything I may have contributed plus having never been a drinker, smoker, drug taker, or ‘cool dude’ … I always felt [and was made to feel] abit of an outsider.

What this means is that whenever I achieved a degree of success [either personally or as part of my team/agency/client] I always felt I was giving the middle finger to the advertising elite … those people who made me – and countless others – feel like we had no right to be in [or even consider to be in] this industry simply because we didn’t come from the right city / school or background.

Yes I know this is probably an attempt to feel like I’m living the ‘triumph over adversity‘ stuff that I love [and I do realise I’ve not really triumphed over anything – certainly nothing truly worthwhile – let alone faced any real adversity] however while the industry is very different to what it once was, its still got its inherent prejudices and if proof was needed, you just have to look at someone like Marcus and realise how in the main, the industry still doesn’t like to embrace clever people with alternative views and backgrounds.

Jesus what a fruitcake I am! πŸ™‚

Question mark in Esbjerg Photo: Alexanderdra Chmann

To be honest, I don’t know why I am writing/saying any of this … plus I appreciate it sounds like a man going through a mid-life crisis [and given that I am close to my official life ‘midpoint’, it would be justifiable, ha] … however I guess I am just coming to terms with who I am and where I am and while that might be very late compared to the rest of you, at least it shows that people don’t always fit into nice, simple ‘generalisation boxes’ that the advertising and research industries like to have us believe.

Jesus this post is depressing – and yet it wasn’t meant to come out that way at all.

The fact is I know I am a very fortunate man, however I guess I am just starting to accept that I’m actually a very fortunate middle aged man and should stop living/ruling/judging my life by some bloody stupid ‘age expectation rule’ that doesn’t actually exist.

Right, I think it’s time I went because this is starting to sound awfully like a DR Phil show so I promise tomorrow will be abit more ‘normal’ [I’m writing it now because I’m speaking at a Market Research Conference] so as long as the delegates don’t lynch me after they hear what I say, I’ll see you on Monday.

So lets end this post with a sing-song …

Happy Birthday To Me …
Happy Birthday To Me …
Happy Birthday Dear Happy Slightly Bonkers Birthday Boy/Man …
Happy Birthday To Me …


I wonder how much of this post was influenced by this …


It’s a bloody birthday card from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Apart from the fact I can’t even remember staying there, everything about it is soooooo depressing – from the paper they’ve used to the cheesy photo inside – so all in all this CRM program is more likely to put me off the hotel than to get me to book, especially given they attract the sort of person I usually hate.

Fucking Mandarin Oriental, they’ve ruined my birthday. The bastards πŸ™‚

51 Comments so far
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Happy birthday Robert, wishing you a wonderful day and year ahead. See you very soon.

Comment by Katerina

Happy Birthday Rob. And as much as those first two pictures made me piss myself laughing because they are soooo morbid, I can see what you’re talking about. If it’s any consolation, you’re still one of the most inspiring people in my life and I truly mean that. Hope you have a great day.

Comment by Age

I am constantly amazed how open you are on this blog but it’s wonderful to read.

Happy birthday from all the clan and you will be very happy to know (but not as happy as me) the cake waiting for you has been “Mary approved” πŸ™‚

Comment by George

Happy birthday Mr Positive

Comment by Lee Hill

38? Impossible. Happy birthday hunky.


Comment by Jemma King

I can’t believe it’s been a year since your last midlife crisis πŸ™‚ Happy birthday Rob, have a great day and we’ll have drinks when you’re here.

Comment by Pete

you depressive fuck, no wonder i love you.

happy birthday mr bridget jones/rachel from friends/whichever bird in “sex & the city” had the most insecurties

Comment by andy@cynic

Happy birthday mate, I’ve sent you something you can make Andy jealous with. See you in 2 weeks.

Comment by Bazza

Big birthday hugs from all the Bryant girls.

Comment by Mary Bryant

You don’t look a day over 37.

Comment by Colin Drummond

In the interests of inter-company corporate karma, I decided I would take the plunge and write a comment on your divisive blog.

I wish you a very happy birthday and look forward to seeing and working with you very soon.


Comment by Jonathan Rosenberg

look at you campbell, getting birthday messages from mr rosenberg. he didnt even say hello to me when i passed him yesterday but then thats because hes probably in awe of me.

Comment by andy@cynic

happy birthday – just think of yourself as 28 years and 120 months old. growing old not up..

“At times is it seems that I am living my life backward, and that at the approach of old age my real youth will begin. My soul was born covered with wrinkles-wrinkles that my ancestors and parents most assiduously put there and that I had the greatest trouble removing,”… – Andre Gide

Comment by Mr McG

Thank you to everyone who decided to be nice to me for once – appreciate it.

Special “hello and welcome” to Jonathan who I fully expect to never darken this blog again – but thanks mate, I’m touched, especially as I know it makes Andy VERY jealous.

And what is it with Hotels and their daft CRM campaigns, I’ve just received an Email from the [admitidly lovely] Sukothai hotel wishing me a Happy Birthday.

It would be a HAPPY birthday if they gave me a free night or something, but as it stands, just getting an email greeting means it’s just a Birthday πŸ™‚

Comment by Rob

Happy, happy, happy birthday Robert. You’re the best and don’t look more than 21. Can I please have a fucking payrise now? πŸ™‚

Comment by Billy Whizz

jealous that some techno nerd said hello to you? you think im that insecure? too fucking right i am

and billy the answer is no. payrises dont get handed out to corporate fucking toadies especially when theyre crawling to people other than me

Comment by andy@cynic

Happy birthday old chum, may it be your best one yet.

Comment by Tom K

All men are bastards but you’re less of a bastard than most men. Happy birthday Rob.

Comment by Bitchy Jo

I never realised you’d been married to Andy, Jo?
No wonder you’re such a bad tempered bitch – but you know we all love you and as I know how much you absolutely detest this blog, I’m very grateful for your subliminal birthday wishes.

Hi Tom – sorry I couldn’t catch up a couple of weeks ago, but I’m back in SF very soon so we will definitely catch up then and yes, it’ll be on me. It’s ALWAYS on me isn’t it, ha!

Comment by Rob

Happy birthday Robert! You know you’ll always have the mind of a child. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

As long as it’s the mind of the child rather than the …

Actually lets not go there πŸ™‚

Thanks matey – lets try and catch up soon, seems abit mad we haven’t given you live near my bloody house!

Comment by Rob

Happy Happy Birthday ! I will come over and plant one on you soon ! I will miss you πŸ™ your shoes and your language inclusive.

Comment by fan

Happy birthday, mate. Have a good day and let some German tact enter you life. I’m off to, my grandparents’ diamond wedding, another special day for old people. Just think of the advantages of being older. Nobody asks you for your ID in a liqueur store. But maybe some boy scouts occasionally will ask you if you need help with crossing the street.


Comment by Seb

12 years ’til 50? at least you’re younger than doddsy πŸ™‚

but seriously, i hear ya about most of this stuff rob. in fact i had my own little dive into existential crisis mode recently about all that stuff. and it wasn’t even my birthday! i think it’s important stuff to think about, but not so much that your brain hurts.

now, go and have a supremely awesome day, know that you are brilliant and make sure you take pics of that cake.

oh, and if you could hold off on having children until we actually catch up – that would be great ‘cos i know you won’t wanna be skipping down under with an under 2 πŸ™‚ [sorry jill]

Comment by lauren


fucking wordpress.

Comment by Seb


fucking wordpress rubbish.

Comment by Seb

cento di questi giorni

Comment by niko

Give you grandparents a massive kiss Seb because I bloody L O V E when I hear stories like that.

And Lauren, when you say “if you could hold off on having children until we actually catch up” are you subliminally suggesting you want to be the Mother of my first born?

Don’t bother responding, we both know the answer πŸ™‚

Comment by Robert

Roses are red, violets are blue
I’m schizophrenic and so am I!

Happy birthday Rob πŸ˜€

Comment by Andrea

Why are people so amazed at the fact that some of us do write honestly on a blog, is it normal to bottle up and explode nowadays?

Comment by Andrea

β€œMaturity is: The ability to stick with a job until it’s finished; The ability to do a job without being supervised; The ability to carry money without spending it; and The ability to bear an injustice without wanting to get even”

So you’re still safe. Happy birthday.

Comment by John

Thank you John, your message PROVES I’m actually 28!

And Andrea, I love both of you πŸ™‚

Comment by Rob

how can you be such a romantic sod and a cheeky bugger in the one sentence?! amazing.

Comment by lauren

Good point Lauren – but maybe when I tell you I’ve been spending an unhealthy amount of time in Andy’s company, you’ll understand!

Right, off for ‘Birthday Dinner’ … and am away at this Market Research thing tomorrow so thanks to everyone for the comments, have a great weekend and see you Monday!

[Don’t worry John, I’ve written my blog posts for tomorrow so you will have something to get up for]

Comment by Rob

Happy birthday mate. A brilliant post. Really reflects how birthdays sometimes make you feel.

Posting honestly is the only way to fly. I should really do it more often.

Comment by Will

look i know its campbells birthday but can we all stop being so nice to him. i know you all think im a rude fuck but hes no mr nice guy and no one really likes him, hes just pulled the “vulnerable bloke” trick to make you all feel sorry for him.

youre as transparant as a fucking windscreen rob, and i would know, its what i used to hook wife 2 (bitch) and 3 (goddess)

and yes i did use a freddie fucking mercury reference in my comment. its his birthday and im the most considerate mate rob will ever have.

Comment by andy@cynic

The stories of Andy’s wives appear to work like politics in 1984…

Happy birthday you miserable old bugger πŸ˜‰

Smile though, after all you are younger than:

Sir Martin Sorrell
Woody Allen
Coca Cola

Comment by Rob Mortimer

dodds and woody seem to share more things in common than appearing on mortimers list of evil. any suggestions?

Comment by andy@cynic

Lets just say the common trait is “intelligent wit” before you cause any more trouble Andy.

Comment by George

I hope it’s been a good day for you Robert.

Comment by George

you think i cant tell youre trying to get back into dodds good books with that comment? creep.

mind you it must make a change from being in marys sights πŸ™‚

Comment by andy@cynic

And the prize for non-joined-up thinking goes to mr mortimer who must remember to insult the prospect only after they’ve agreed to review your new ad on their blog.

Comment by John

mortimer has done an ad? present me with the fucking thing

Comment by andy@cynic

If you hadn’t screewed up your email I’d forward it to you. Oh I know I’ll send it to Katarina and say not to pass it on!

Comment by John

dont fuck with katerina or mr smirnoff will pay you a memorable visit. ive been promised my email will be fixed by monday and thank fuck for that, i cant imagine how much porn ive missed out on

Comment by andy@cynic

true, true.
after reading your post i got a burning sensation on my epiglottis, above the glottis around the larynx; a you looking at me? kind of sensation. it was good.

happy birthday.

Comment by facu

Happy Birthday Rob, just need to say you ARE 38 NOT 28 full stop. As this means you are getting very old, very quickly you need to get a move on the fatherhood issue – maybe it will make Paul get a spurt on (pardon the expression). Love Ya Loads X

Comment by Shelly

Its that lovely time of the year when for a couple of weeks we are the same age. Lovely post and I’ve just been catching up with a few I missed including Heather Mill’s pussy and even that tomorrow another is another special day.

I used that question mark at the end of a prezzo to Nokia so I know you swiped it off Flickr πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend I’m staying in Friday 13th has been lousy one.

Comment by Charles Frith

Holy Moly – Shelly wrote on my blog!

Thanks lovely, I didn’t see your comment there till the lovely Charles something.

Thanks sweets but as long as I am not as old as you, that’s OK. And the use of the word ‘spurt’ was inspired?

How was your ‘squirel bath’ by the way? πŸ™‚

And Charles – thanks for your comment and acknowledgment of Flickr Theft – and let me tell you, we might be the same age for a few weeks but you’re the Huggy Bear of 38 year olds whereas I’m the Queen Victoria.

Oh, and does it make me weird when I say Friday 13th has always been quite a good day for me? Probably. Oh dear.

Thanks Charles

Comment by Rob

card should be addressed to Mr Puki Campbell. when are you gonna do it rob?

Comment by Emah

Oi Emah – stop talking big – the reality is you’re 2ft tall, you didn’t so much as wish me a “happy birthday” let alone send me a high value cheque and I know your boss and can have you on the streets in the time it takes you to say, “What can I take down for you sir?”

[I’m talking shorthand of course – which is abit daft because [1] you can’t do it and [2] you’re not a secretary … but it’s all I could come up with at such short notice]

God I miss you, you little piece of evil πŸ™‚

Comment by Rob

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