This Friday, Oct. 22nd, I turn 40 years old. 40. It’s actually kind of hard to comprehend hitting this milestone. It doesn’t seem so far away that I was a punk high school kid working in fast food and chasing tail. Or a college student working as a local radio DJ to pay the bills. Or living in a van down by the river with my future wife.
None of those things seem that long ago, and I have vivid memories of them, but each were a minimum of a decade and a half ago.
Overall, birthdays have always been kinda “meh” for me. I’ve never dreaded them, and I’ve never felt old… until now.
I don’t think I’m feeling old for the typical reasons either. First, I don’t believe in regret. It’s a stupid emotion. If you have a spine, own up to your choices and realize you made them for a reason. I’m not looking back on the past 40 years and wishing I had made different choices. Do I wonder sometimes what different choices would have meant? Certainly. I have that curiosity as everyone does. But that doesn’t mean I regret making the choices I have. Like I said, I made them for a reason, and I am where I am today because of them. So, I’m not upset about 40 because of regret.
Well, a lot of times people look at 40 and take stock of their life and realize that they are not happy in their job, or their relationship, or their financial standing, or they don’t feel attractive or talented in some way anymore. That’s not me either.
Make no mistake, I’m fucking awesome.
So why is this awesome guy with no regrets and a great life not liking 40? Well, it boils down to this. For the first time in my life, I no longer feel invincible.
At 16, 26 and maybe even at 36, I felt like nothing in the world could touch me or get to me. I was bulletproof. Not anymore. I’ve seen too many of my idols, my peers and my friends succumb to things like cancer and stroke. I’ve seen good businessmen lose almost everything. I’ve seen friends and family walk away from upside-down mortgages. I’ve seen some friends unexpectedly divorce, and yet others living in loveless marriages filled with baseless accusations.
All of these things help me realize how lucky I personally am, yet how fragile it all is. It can come tumbling down in an instant. In getting to 40, I’ve felt it always was an uphill climb and I’m now at the peak of the mountain. I’m looking down the other side, and I realize that if I fall now, going downhill makes the wreckage worse.
I guess I’ll just have to do my best not to tumble and enjoy the trek back down the mountain as much as I can.
So hello 40. It’s officially time to be old. Now get off my lawn.