When people ask me how I feel about turning 40, I tell them the truth – that I was against it, but I didn't have any say in the matter. I don't imagine that my struggle with aging is any different or any more profound than anyone else's, but whatever, it's mine, and I'm not concerned with how old anyone else is. And I didn't want to turn 40.
Only fools and children look forward to turning 40. If someone had pulled me aside thirty years ago and said "Listen kid, there's gonna come a time when you can walk into any grocery store and buy (dramatic pause) as much chocolate as you want," well, that would have sounded pretty fucking appealing. But now that I'm here, I know the truth of the matter: too old to be young, far too young to retire, and running out of choices. Turning 40 is some serious business. No more time to find my dream career, I'm in the midst of it, dreamy or not. Can't take my health for granted anymore – one sleepless night, and I wake up a broken man. And it isn't just me any more – I've got people to take care of that aren't me. No more fooling around.
The good news is that I've figured some stuff – what I'm good at, what I'm extremely not good at. What I should be doing for work. When to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em. I became an expert in something, at least enough that people pay me money to do it. I learned how to ask for what I need, I learned how to take yes for an answer, and I learned how to say no. I feel like I'm ready to sit at the grown-ups table. Indeed, I've grown up at least twenty years in the last ten, and I'm proud of that. I hope this curve of learning keeps getting steeper, because I've got some lost time to make up for. Too many years spent a-wanderin'. I'm done with that now.
And so, 40. I'm getting used to it. Slowly.
Here's to the next 40. I'm against turning 80 too, but slightly less so.