So I have a birthday comingÂ up tomorrow. I’m over 40.
Now, I’m usually not one to make a fuss about birthdays, especially my own. I don’t think about it all that much. To me, it’s just another day. As long as I feel good, and as long as I can still spike a volleyball and paddle a surfboard, and as long as I still like looking at pretty girls, I figure everything’s working as it should, so my age doesn’t really matter.
But I’m wondering about you all and milestone ages.
My story is as follows:
When I turned 40, my friends and family all seemed touched by my milestone in some way. They all seemed to get some enjoyment out of the fact that I’m no longer the target demographic for most TV commercials. ManyÂ took peculiar delight that my yearly physicals now include strange exploratory procedures. Others pointed out that in just about any athletic competition, I easily qualify to participate in the Seniors division. TheyÂ found it interesting that I am now considered middle-aged.
Even these days, when I tell people how old I am, I get responses like, “Ooohhh . . . . ! Wow, I can’t believe you lived this long.” Or, “Jesus, you’reÂ over 40? I hope I look as good as you when I’m so near death.”
For my part though, I’m not really feeling it. I don’t feel any different than IÂ didÂ 8 orÂ 9 years. And I sayÂ 8 orÂ 9 years, because that was the last time I remember feeling any real change in my body. Things started to hurt that never hurt before, and they would hurt for a long time; knees, back, the occasional hip thing. But those aches and pains became a part of my life, just as I suppose being over 40 will. But for now, I don’t feel any different.
Of course, when I was kid, I’d see men who were approaching or passing 40 having these wonderful mid-life crises. They would buy themselves a tight pair of jeans and a frilly shirt, get a sports car, and start dating hot young women. It was all the rage. That’s the way they did it in the 1970s.
But I don’t know if that’s right for me either. I don’t really want a sports car, and I can’t stand tight jeans, but . . . . I guess the thing is, I don’t really have a buttoned-down life to escape from.
Still, if I’m going to make something out ofÂ being overÂ 40, and it seems everyone wants me to, I might as well take advantage of this dynamic, if I can. I might as well act the fool while I’ve got a free pass, right?
“Who let the old guy into the club?” people will say. “And can someone make him stop dancing like that? It’s very disturbing.”
And then someone else will remark, “Oh, it’s okay. He’s just having a mid-life crisis.”
Before you know it, the kids will have adopted me as sort of a mascot. I think I can make a mid-life crisis work for me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to hit the dance clubs right away. I was thinking of starting slowly. Maybe to begin with, I’ll do something that’s not too far over the top. Perhaps a spanking new tattoo and a young stripper girlfriend, or something like that. I think that fits the bill nicely. Of course, I’ll have to stop using phrases like “spanking new”, otherwise I’ll never get a young stripper girlfriend. But I’m just brainstorming right now. I’m not ready to put the plan into action just yet.
And if my mid-life crisis doesn’t work out, there’s still good news for me and everyone else reaching two score in age. Newspapers and the Internet keep telling me that 40 is the new 30.
When I heard that, I thought Wow, that’s pretty damn convenient. It’s perfect timing. I’m 40 just as 40 is becoming the new 30. And I can only assume that this trend will hold true for the rest of my life. When I turn 50, 50 will be the new 30, and then 60, and so on. Hell, I’m going to be 30 for the rest of my life!
Anyway, despite my flippancy, I know that aging can be a hard fact of life. It’s a ticking reminder that we are here for just a short while. But I try not to let it bother me. The truth is, as long as I feel good and I have good people around me, I don’t care how old I am. I just hope to live my life well and be a good guy, no matter my age.
Of course a cool tattoo and a hot, young stripper girlfriend wouldn’t really hurt anything.
I’m just saying . . .
So, have you had a mid-life crisis? And if you’re not there yet, do certain age milestones concern you? How do you celebrate them? How do you handle aging?