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

You Know You’re Over 40 When …
March 28, 2012, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

… you think every slight ailment could be life threatening.

A headache is an aneurism.

An aching back is a tumor.

When you get angry, people tell you to ‘watch your blood pressure’.

And it doesn’t help that DR’s start using words like ‘cholesterol’ and ‘prostate examinations’.

Seriously, whoever said ‘life begins at 40’ didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about.

Oh you young ones can snigger, it’ll happen to you eventually.

I used to be you.

Looking at my older colleagues and smirking when they told me of their aches and pains, woes and stresses.

While I know I’m not the healthiest person whose ever lived, DR’s always said the fact I’ve never smoked, taken any drugs or drunk any alcohol for literally decades always put me in the ‘generally good state of health’ category – despite the eye, the gall bladder and everything else that has fallen off/apart over the years.

So you can imagine my surprise when following Nigel Dougherty’s induced health check, I was advised I needed ‘blood pressure pills’.

Now I’ve always had relatively high blood pressure but nothing mental – and nothing has changed – but now, at 41, Doctors deem it is something that needs to ‘controlled’.

To be honest, this has affected me a lot.

Not because I always thought this was the medication you got when you were 60 … not because I will always have to answer “yes” to questions about taking medication … not because it will limit my roller coaster experiences, but because it is another reminder of my own mortality.

OK … OK … let’s get something in proportion, it’s not because I’m in a life-threatening state of health, it’s about being proactively preventative – but that said, it has knocked me for six.

The reality is that nothing changes.

I pop ½ a pill a day and everything is OK but that’s not good enough.

I don’t want ½ a pill a day.

I don’t want any pills.

The reality is I need to change things.

Not just diet and exercise, but my whole attitude to life – and my biggest concern is that while some of that is easy, some of it will be near impossible.

I work in a mad industry.

An industry that can make mountains out of molehills.

An industry full of prima-donnas and egos, bursting to be released.

An industry that can changes its mind and viewpoint at the drop of a hat.

An industry that is constantly juggling between pleasing itself and pleasing its clients.

An industry that is mad, bad, dangerous to know and a whole lot of exciting on the top.

An industry that – for all my frustrations with it – has kept me interested in it for the best part of 2 decades.

When I was at cynic, we had a poster that read: Remember, it’s only a job.

It’s purpose was to remind us that while we were doing something important, it wasn’t something that should be regarded more highly than life and family and friendships.

It would appear that I need to remember this myself.

No, I’m not blaming work for my blood pressure, I’m blaming me.

My problem is I still get stupidly enthusiastic about things.

Despite having been in this industry for longer than some of you have been alive, I still see every project for what ‘it could be’.

In some respects, this sets me up for failure – and frustration – time and time again, but I have this uncontrollable need to try and do something great with everything I do.

Of course most of the time I don’t get anywhere near where I hoped it could be – but thanks to my personal “issues”, that desire is always there.

People say adland is a young persons game, but while some say that’s to do with talent or their ability to keep pace with the industry, I think it’s actually about their ability to move on with things.

I find it very hard to let go of what ‘could have been’, especially when it hasn’t happened because of short-sightedness or fear.

I keep pushing things. Trying to find a way around the obstacle. Trying to find people who can help prove it can work or can help make it happen.

Sometimes I’m successful, quite often I’m not … but I have a backlog of opportunities I am trying to clear.

Maybe it’s all to do with being an only child or something … an incessant need to get what I want, despite the fact I never managed to achieve that when I was a kid – except for the Raleigh Grifter and Digital Clock Radio.

I should learn to let go .. I should learn to accept defeat … in fact now, thanks to being scared by my blood pressure medication – I have to.

How utterly depressing.

I honestly don’t know how I’m going to manage it, but as much as I enjoy my job, I love my family way, way more and besides – as I wrote here – the older I get, the more things I see I want to do, try and explore and there’s no way that’s going to happen if I let adland get to me first.

Growing older is part of growing older, but health has a funny way of giving you the sort of clarity a planner could only hope to deliver … so to end this post, let me say that if you are under 40 and think every ailment could be life threatening, then you’re a hypochondriac … however if you’re over 40, then you’re being ‘careful’ and sometimes that’s braver than simply taking things on without regard for the consequences.

32 Comments so far
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What an amazing and honest post. Only you would be so open about this sort of thing and even though you say it is a preventative situation rather than an illness situation, it’s still a big thing so I hope you do as the doctors say. 

Like your point about death, people don’t talk enough about health issues either. Well there’s lots of talk but it’s very superficial. Maybe it’s because they think it shows weakness to others, especially bosses and bean counter hatchet men. 

I agree I don’t know how you’ll learn to let go. I don’t think it’s possible. However you made it sound like your stupid enthusiasm leads to constant disappointment but I know for a fact you have lots of successes, especially for Asia, than most could dream of having and clients openly adore you and ask you to take them to the promised land you paint for them so its not exactly the life of personal frustration and misguided ambition as you humbly make it sound. Quite the opposite in fact and that’s the real lesson for people coming into the industry today. 

As I said, this is a very open post with some great points (keep setting your standards at high, regardless of the task and don’t be so eager to move on to the next thing when faced with obstacles) but I hope you take care of yourself because adland needs you around, not just your family. 

Comment by Pete

i hear the w are doing special ro rates this week pete so if youre quick you could grab one to take campbell into and fuck him like you want to.

Comment by andy@cynic

Your Mum is going to freak when she sees this unless she already knows.

Comment by Pete


Comment by DH

She doesn’t and she will.

Comment by Rob

Enthusiasm for the industry and the work has no correlation with enthusiasm for pies.

Do something about the latter, but don’t change the former, that is needed more than ever.

Comment by John

its got fuck all to do with pies or work pressure or his fucking annoying habit of not letting go of anyfuckingthing he gets excited by (read “everyfuckingthing”) his blood pressure is due to worrying whether hell ever find out how much cash he has as his property fucking empire keeps giving him returns donald fucking trump would wank over.

Comment by andy@cynic

That dog picture is wrong, I’ve told you for 10 years you’re like an annoying red setter puppy. Who has been fed caffeine and e numbers.

Good post but sort yourself out. You could start by not writing this blog and then you’d be helping everyone else’s health as well as your own.

Comment by DH

didnt know you were a doctor dave. fucking excellent prescription.

Comment by andy@cynic

you better start looking after yourfuckingself campbell, youre not fucking snuffing it until i get my fucking share of the cash you fucking sneaked out my fucking wallet thanks to an overpriced fucking lawyer and some pointless piece of paper shit called an ownership contract, whatever the fuck that is.

Comment by andy@cynic

This post has shocked me Rob. I never knew you had blood going through your veins, I just assumed it was poison.

Comment by Billy Whizz

innafuckingproproate. but funny, so its ok.

Comment by andy@cynic

Not sure if this post is about blood pressure or work/passion ethic and I know you’ll make it work because short of changing careers, you can’t change who you are and how you act which is why I found this paragraph of the post so interesting.

“People say adland is a young persons game, but while some say that’s to do with talent or their ability to keep pace with the industry, I think it’s actually about their ability to move on with things.”

Take care of yourself for you, your family and me.

Comment by Bazza

Hang on, you are planning a career change aren’t you? How is that going and how do you manage to do that on top of everything else you do? Maybe that’s the reason you have high blood pressure.

Comment by Bazza

everything else? like have holidays, go on free fucking flights and count his money? yeah, thats a fucking tough life.

but i want campbell to pass his teaching exam shit because when he swaps his queen tshirts for leather patch jackets, it gives me a fuckload more piss taking material to use plus i get direct access to all those hot, nubile, naive 20 year old chicks.

stop being a fucking slackarse campbell and get fucking studying.

Comment by andy@cynic

My view is similar to both Pete & Baz said in their comments.
My build is to tell you to stop taking on everyone else’s shit & be a bit more selfish with your time and energy.
Powerful and honest post, for personal and professional reasons.

Comment by George

auntie florence fucking nightingale has spoken campbell, so listen to her shit, she speaks sense. just make sure i still have the power of fucking veto over your time and life. what am i talking about, of course i fucking do, this child is fucking up my fucking mind.

Comment by andy@cynic

listen campbell, you need to listen to george. you dont have to stop being who you are, you just have to stop trying to make every other fucker succeed. youre not superman. youre not even superwoman. stop helping the fuckers who dont give a fucking shit about you. stop trying to make everything be better. let some fuckers fail and fall by the wayside. fuck them all. take fucking care of yourself. become a dad. youd be quite good, not as good as me or george or freddie or northern but quite good. kids would stop you wasting your time on the pointless (planning) and let you spend more time on being good. preventative or fucking not, do it or ill come and fucking smash your fucking head in.

Comment by andy@cynic

Andy’s version of love right there for all to see.

Comment by DH

twat. but maybe i was a bit hasty with the kid recommendation. another campbell in this world? no fucking way, then they do cost you a fortune and ruin your sleep so it could be the ultimate fucking payback plus it would stop him buying more birkenstocks, gadgets and fucking queen tees. sorry jill, seems you have to take one for the fucking team. just close your eyes, itll be over in less than 3 seconds.

Comment by andy@cynic

Nice work Andrew. So nice I’ll buy you dinner this weekend.

Comment by George

yes you fucking will. and beer, lots and lots of fucking beer.

Comment by andy@cynic

Beautifully honest post Rob.

You’re genuinely the most generous person I know in this industry. And while it’s a bit hypocritical of me to say you should be more selfish, I have to agree with George and Andy and tell you you should.

Please take good care of yourself. You’re better placed than anybody to figure out how.

Comment by rafikrafik

Hello everyone …

Well first of all I’m very touched – and shocked – by all the nice words. Thank god Billy stayed true to his bastard self of I wouldn’t know what to do.

The reality is this post was not written for sympathy and while I am not denying the fact that preventative or not, medication is never a good thing, it’s not like I’m at death’s door and thanks to Nigel Doughty’s “intervention”, my visit to the DR’s has ensured its even further in the distance than it ever was.

That said I think it’s pretty obvious I have been shaken up by it and know it will require me to make some changes, however as a few people mentioned, it’s more about me adapting how I work than fundamentally changing because otherwise it’s not going to happen and there’s no way my wife will let me get away with that for much longer.

But thank you for the support, though I’m more impressed I’ve got Andy and George to finally admit I am not just a holiday freeloader, even though next week has 3 days of national holiday. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Regardless Robert, listen to George.

Comment by Lee Hill

Story of my life.

Comment by Rob

The irony is I’ve just realised I forgot to take my 1/2 pill today so maybe I need some memory booster stuff too.

Comment by Rob

I’ll give you a personal training session (and a programme to follow) when you’re in Singapore next time. And I’m not thinking of the kind of training where you and I are sat opposite each other with a table full of food between us. (Guess we’ll have time for that too)

20 minutes a day keep the pills away.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

I might hold you to that.

Especially the table full of food bit.

Comment by Rob

Seeing you’re not at death’s door, I realise this was in fact a brand-related post warning against the risks of getting bloated, trying to be all things to all people and not taking time to consider the big picture. There’s hope for you yet.

Comment by John

i dont know why you need e fucking medication when the people who suffer from the high blood pressure are the bastards who have to listen to your planning bollocks.

talk about a fucking wrong diagnosis.

Comment by andy@cynic

Smell the flowers while you can

Comment by northern

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