January 6, 2007
By the time I finish writing this post I'll be 40. Many friends have been sent into mini panics by this particular milestone (one friend who still has a few months to go before his 40th keeps making gloomy pronouncements like, "the first half of your life it is all about possibility and doing stuff, and then you just start losing things..." But then again he's been having midlife crisis after midlife crisis since turning 20), but this is not my style. It is true that by 40 you become aware of your own mortality. Most of us by 40 have lost grandparents and people in our parents generation are dying at an increasingly alarming rate. But this sadness is countered by the delight in all the children being born. At 40 virtually all of my long time friends are married and busy making families. Two of my friends have just had their 5th kids. (They have their own basketball teams!) And children are the enemies of complacency. I wish sometimes I had met my wife earlier and that we had had kids earlier. I was 12 when my dad turned 40. 17 when my my mom turned 40, she died only 5 years later.
My single friends my age are generally solo by choice, the few who are single but not by choice often voice regrets about their lives. This last category is populated almost exclusively with friends who had one great love who got away. Talking to them always makes me thankful I met my great love when I did, at an age when I could appreciate what I would be missing if I were to lose her.
As a teenager I attended a family friend's 40th birthdy party and remember thinking of the guy as ancient, but I don't feel any older than I did back then. I'm better at virtually everything today and I've lost most of the self consciousness which plagued my young life. Also and perhaps most importantly I've finally reached an age where I can wear hats and only look like a semi-jackass.
The truth is I'll wake up in a few hours and feel pretty much as I did yesterday. My grandfather said he didn't begin to feel old until he turned 87. I hope to follow in his footsteps.