There comes a point in each man’s life when he must put down the water balloons and whoopie cushions, and make a definitive statement that he is indeed an adult — that marker in time that unequivocally states that adulthood is now upon him, and the choice he makes from that point forward will be the choices of a grownup. I fear that time is now upon me.
I turn 40 this weekend. I know, for many of you out there it is not an age to be concerned about, but rather one to embrace. It is the beginning of a new chapter in my life, and there are still several chapters ahead of me that are still to be written.
Blah, blah, blah.
If 40 is the new 30, and 30 is the new 20, then I guess I’m actually turning 20, right? No, not right. I remember turning 20. I was a young Marine with a truckload of dreams and a body that recovered fairly quickly from whatever abuse I put it through on a fairly regular basis. The sky was still the limit and I truly believed I could accomplish anything I wanted to if I simply set my mind to it and worked hard.
Now I’m just another bald guy who stresses about his electric bill and uses the bathroom a lot.
Is this birthday bothering me? I’m not sure. I mean, I struggled with turning 29 because there were so many things I wanted to accomplish before turning 30 that had not been met yet. On the flip side, actually turning 30 the following year didn’t really bother me at all. I braced myself for my 39th last year, thinking I’d fall into the same panic that had befallen me 10 years earlier, but it ended up not being an issue.
I think I was just happy that I wasn’t turning 40.
But now there’s nowhere to hide. The Big 4-0 is coming if I like it or not, and my only hope is to somehow find a way to embrace it and not let it eat me up like a worm that fell into a nuclear reactor and got super big and started attacking people like a scene from a low-budget horror flick that...
But I digress.
Yes. Optimism is the key. There has to be some positives about hitting 40 that would make me a little bit more receptive to this particular milestone in life.
My easy out would be to take the stand that at least I’m not turning 50. I could consider that, smile for a second and realize that 40 isn’t necessarily over the hill, as much as it’s...
My God, I’m turning 40.
How did this happen? It seemed like yesterday when I was patrolling the hallways of high school with a smirk on my face, a chip on my shoulder and the world at my feet. Now I’m sitting in various doctors’ waiting rooms with an ice pack on my shoulder and a pile of bills at my feet.
Once I was active and athletic, ready to play any sport at absolutely any time and usually do more than just hold my own. Now I find myself watching Lifetime on television because I’m too tired to get off the couch and change the batteries on my remote control.
I’ve gone from being excited about shaving with my father’s razor one day to being ticked off that I have to shave every day to adjusting myself in the mirror so I can find that rascally hair that has sprouted from my ear.
My ear, I say!
Oh, this isn’t going well at all. I’ve never been too caught up with the notion of growing older because, well, I’ve never turned 40 before. Whereas the idea of turning 30 caused my stomach to turn because of a chronological list of goals I had made for myself, the notion of hitting 40 is punching me in the gut because, well, it’s 40.
And that’s almost 50. Which, if you didn’t know, is almost 60.
It goes by pretty quickly, doesn’t it? One minute you’re getting up to talk to your friends on the phone during commercial breaks on MTV, and the next you’re waiting anxiously for the commercials to see if there’s a new over-the-counter cure for whatever it is that ails you at that particular moment in time — and hoping against hope that the side effects don’t include bleeding eye sockets or things just falling off instantaneously.
I thought life was supposed to get easier when you get older. You know, you’re more comfortable with who you are, you’ve seen and learned more over time and you are free to do whatever you feel like doing.
But that’s the secret, isn’t it?
We constantly learn. We’re never free to do what we’d like. And there comes a time to drop the whoopie cushion.