January 6, 2007

On Turning 40

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.

related: 39, 38

posted at 01:30 AM by raul

Filed under: personal history

TAGS: 40 (1) aging (7) birthday (4) growing up (4) hats (1)


01/06/07 10:11 AM

¡Feliz Cumpleaños amigo!

01/06/07 10:48 AM

happy birthday my fellow capricorn! (mine was the 3rd)
i love this post, especially your grandfathers quote.

01/06/07 11:55 AM

measured in people years you are 40, but I your real age in raulian years is about 14.

love and a big kiss from Baton Rouge.

01/06/07 11:57 AM

Joyeux Anniversaire, Raul.

01/06/07 12:18 PM

For our own Irish-Mexican:

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of old Saint Patrick behold you.

Welcome to a new year.

01/06/07 09:06 PM

Happy Birthday!

I'll be 38 next month and hats still look fairly stupid on me -- my head is also large s that doesn't help. Maybe by 40.

So far I have felt aging as primarily a positive thing. I like my grey hair and I also feel far more comfortable with myself than I did in my teens and twenties.

01/07/07 03:59 PM

Happy Birthday, Raul!
May 40 be a good year for you and your growing family. Having at least 47 years of not feeling old ahead of you is a good base for everything to come I guess.

I´m looking forward to reading abou you being 40 in this world.

01/07/07 09:22 PM

A belated Happy Birthday Raoul.

01/08/07 02:42 AM

Happy Birthday.

01/08/07 02:00 PM

Happy Birthday.

I was once down in SE Arizona at Quitobaquito Springs. The trail runs right along a barb wired fence that marks the border between Mexico and the United States. I noticed footprints that approached the fence from the Mexico side and then went off into the American side. A raven flew north over the fence and then changed its mind and flew south again, croaking loudly. I could be wrong, but turning 40 is sort of like that fence. At least it seemed that way to me.

01/08/07 05:55 PM



Aging rules. I'm only 24 and look forward to nothing more than being elderly.

01/09/07 09:22 AM

I love the O'Clery family.

01/12/07 02:38 PM

Estas son las mañanitas, que cantaba el Rey David. Hoy por ser día de tu santo, te las cantamos a ti... etc, etc.

Best wishes.

01/28/07 06:42 PM

Happy belated birthday from us... though it wouldn't surprise me if my better half had done so not quite so belatedly.

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