As I have said before, I am not generally one to get stuck on milestone birthdays. I have always been fortunate enough and that makes me feel pretty good about birthdays (or maybe it’s just because I lost my hair so very, very long ago, so I’ve had no choice but to get over it). This year, for starters, I have a wonderful, healthy family, a nice house, a good job (with a surprise promotion just yesterday!), and I’m the healthiest physically I’ve been probably since high school. So I don’t exactly look back on my 30s with a lot of regrets.
All that being said, there is something about the big 4-0, and I have found myself dwelling on it a lot more than I thought I would as it approached. Not specifically the birthday itself, but just getting older in general. It seems like in the past 6 months or so, I have felt a million new aches and pains. Maybe just because it has been on my mind, I don’t know.
But it really does feel like, for the first time, I’m starting to feel “old”.
For whatever reason, when I think of “parents” or “the previous generation” I always imagine the people who would sit in the stands at like middle and high school sporting events. I don’t know why, but in any case, I can’t help but acknowledge that that’s me now, you know? (Side note: we had kids relatively young, and thank god! Parenting is so exhausting, that I seriously cannot imagine doing it any older. How could I accomplish this with any less energy?!)
I suppose the cliche is to say I feel younger than I am, and that is both true and not true. I just went over all the reasons it’s not true, but I think it’s also fair to say that I still spend time making memes and reading comic books and playing dungeons and dragons and I fall asleep nearly every night thinking about programing robots to fight other robots, which….I don’t know exactly what a 40 year old is supposed to be doing, but I certainly wouldn’t have guessed it was that stuff.
Even with all that, there is something about the number 40, though. Yesterday, if I were talking to someone who was, let’s say 24, I would have (optimistically) thought, “Well, they’re in their 20s and I’m in my 30s, so we’re not SO different in age!” But suddenly today I have to instead think, “They’re in their 20s and I’m in my 40s. That’s a 20 year difference!”
That is a lot of aging to experience all at once.
So, you know, here I am. Middle aged. Bald, with a kid in middle school, but also probably living a better life than I had imagined I would. Struggling sometimes with parenting, but also super fulfilled by my career and hobbies, and learning new things every day. Wishing I had more time, but also happy with the way I spend my time and money.
Now just wait until I hit 50…