THE BLOG
23/09/2013 12:46 BST | Updated 23/11/2013 05:12 GMT

I Can Remember When John Cleese Was Funny - Does That Make Me Old?

I know personal blogs like this are perfect vehicles for confessions but I'm afraid I have a rather big one to reveal to the world. It might damage my reputation, cast me in an entirely unflattering light and possibly ruin potentially lucrative offers of work.

But, here goes. I'm 43.

I am old enough to have fathered Jack Wilshere, Adele and several Big Brother households (what awful thoughts). I am old enough to remember that Test cricket was the only thing on daytime TV, gourmet meant Steak Diane not burger, a Rubik's cube was as lusted after as GTA is now, and John Cleese was funny.

Yes it was a golden age to grow up in and now it's a golden age to be a grown up in. Except...

My midlife reinvention from office-bound executive to dynamic media entrepreneur has, predictably, not been easy but it has been incredibly inspiring and life-affirming. Yet this morning a friend raised the ugly possibility that it was all doomed - because of my birth certificate.

'I know you won't take offence Grant (I did) but don't you think, well, you're a little old to start again. I mean you look great and obviously you're exceptionally gifted (paraphrased that bit, but pretty accurate) but media is a young man's game. I mean I want a new challenge too but who wants a 40-something walking in off the street?'

Everyone. Especially, but not exclusively, in media. The business pages might be dominated with Harvard graduate geeks and bedroom billionaires sporting bum-fluff but the only thing that makes a good idea work is experience. Inspiration needs knowledge to lift it out of the conceptual.

Twenty-odd years of writing, editing, designing, predicting, analysing, honing instincts and adapting thoughts, seeing pitfalls and knowing what works, understanding reactions and needs, living and working amongst talented and sometimes treacherous people.

That's what age gives you. Not grey hair and a pot belly. Not a laziness to stay clear of challenges and do it likes it's always been done (though there are plenty of those out there). And, most importantly, age should not give you fear.

Age should be - is - liberating. It is a badge to be worn proudly. It shows wisdom and maturity. It hopefully reveals a certain amount of success and of continued ambition. And it is more valuable now than ever, especially as more and more companies ignore the needs of the wealthiest and most populous segment of society, whilst employing a generation further removed from that reality than any before it.

We are in thrall to youth yet it is an approach that, in so many sectors, has not brought with it advancement. Wise old heads allowed their charges to transform reassuringly boring banks into garish casinos, politicians wilfully ignored the people who put them and their predecessors in power and some media owners succumbed to the naive urgings of tie-less advisers who don't like paying for stuff.

Another friend I grew up with lived by the adage that 'If you haven't made it by 40 you'll never make it'. He pursued that ambition with uncommon vigour and, indeed, he went stellar well before that milestone. I took no pleasure in watching him implode so spectacularly by the age of 41, a victim of immature errors in a business that demanded caution and humility.

They don't teach you those skills when you're young. But you learn it with age. I'm not even halfway through my working life, I may not have learned half the things I'm going to learn, so how on earth can I be too old?

After all, Warren Buffett could almost be my grandad. Oh, if only...

By the way. I'm 45. Damn it!!