…there's no difference between 25 and 26, it's just like wearing a different tie; but once past 35 it's impossible not to feel that each year is taking one further from what is desired and pleasant and nearer to what is loathed and dreaded UNLESS… you have wound yourself thoroughly into life by conceiving and gratifying a chain of desires.
(Letter to Maeve Brennan, 1961).
and to Judy Egerton:
The sense of approaching forty is strong upon me, and [of] having completely wasted the time of twenty to forty, when power should be greatest and relish keenest. Anything I do now will be a compromise with second or third best. I suddenly see myself as a freak and a failure, and my way of life as a farce.(Letter to Judy Egerton, May 1961)
Larkin's score by 35: two novels, two volumes of poetry, regular media work, oversaw the building of Hull University Library, one of the best in the country.
I'm indifferent to a change of digit, but tomorrow I reach 35.