July 20 2011

On Turning 40

Turning 40It had to happen eventually, and it has … I turned 40-years-old today.

Despite my disdain for the concept of hitting this age, many people brightened my day with well wishes via Tweets, Facebook posts, a few IMs and a couple of phone calls.  (Be thankful you never pick up the phone to be greeted by TechnoBuffalo Editor-at-Large Noah Kravitz serenading you with a birthday song he is making up on the spot …)  All of the thoughts and well wishes were bright spots to my day, and I thank you all.

However, leave it to the Diabolical Miss M to be the one to get to the guts of things when she called me to wish me a happy birthday, and later ask me, “How does it feel?” in that dead-serious, “I’m not kidding this time” tone of hers.  How does it feel to turn 40?  How do you think it feels?  It feels like you’ve officially passed the mid-point of your life and you know you’re living with a ticking clock somewhere counting down your final minutes.

Many people have tried to tell me how wonderful your 40’s can be: You’re still energetic enough to get things done, you’ve got the BS out of your way and you can still make the world yours.  As I see it, in your 20’s, you know you’re having fun, but also learning your lessons.  In your 30’s your wise enough to not make the same silly mistakes any more.  In your 50’s you are now old enough for people to think of you as wise.  In your 60’s you cross over into that land of being the distinguished & wizened old owl that’s still worth listening to.  Your 40’s?  You’re counting down the clock to your 50’s and trying to figure out what you’ve done that even remotely matters, and do you still have time to change it.

The 40’s, as I see it with me experience that amounts to less than a day, could be the most perplexing decade yet.  I have no delusions that over half my life is gone, and now I’m looking at things sliding downhill from here.  Don’t get me wrong, I am hopeful this is just the birthday talking and my 40’s turn out to be spectacular, but for now, “How does it feel?”  Not so hot.

Of course, I wasn’t too thrilled about turning 30 either, so, eh, who knows.

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