My eyes popped open at 0208. I tried until 0256 to go back to sleep. I just couldn’t. It feels like Christmas. And High School graduation. And getting ready for deployment. And heading to the delivery room. And waiting for the test results. All rolled up into one.
Let me go ahead and acknowledge the fact that I totally get that some folks may think I have put way too much emphasis, both publicly and privately, on my 40th birthday. Let me be clear and with all the love I can muster for those who try and pop the bubbles of others – this is an opinion I do not give a fuck about. This is not your birthday, this is not your journey. You are more than welcome to celebrate with me and travel this way on the party bus. You are also completely within your right to stay the fuck home. The choice is yours. I respect it either way. I will now continue with my choice – celebrating and sucking every bit of life out of this milestone that is particularly important to me.
If you would have asked me what 40 looked like 20 years ago, I would have had an amazingly enlightened answer gleaned from the vast knowledge of the world I possessed when I was 20.
As an aside, there is a serious need for a sarcasm font. I think that’s a good fit for Comic Sans. I may try and start that trend. But I probably won’t.
20 year old me, surprisingly enough, would have been wrong. I would have never, ever described 40 this way. It is far more complex, simple, daunting, easy, exciting, scary, humbling, sexy, fun than I would have ever imagined.
I have said over and over again these past few months that I don’t feel 40. I was wrong. I do feel 40 because I am 40. The truth is 40 just doesn’t feel like I expected it to. And honestly, I have no idea why I expected it to feel less than what I feel now. To clarify, I feel great. Why I wasted time assuming that there was a point in my life where I would feel less than is beyond me. I am sure there will come a day where I cannot do what I do now, but what if there isn’t? Moreover, why carry tomorrow’s baggage today? Why weigh down myself with things that have happened or will happen at the expense of what is happening?
In fact, I think that’s where the root of the midlife crisis lives – holding on to so much “why did/n’t I” and “what if” baggage that our truth is crushed under the weight. It has been my experience that truth is not coal and does not, therefore, turn into diamonds under intense pressure. It is more akin to combustible gas that explodes when the pressure release valve is faulty. There are all these voices, ideas, personalities, opportunities, desires, thoughts that are routinely suppressed in our everyday lives because of our own shoulds, oughts, safety mechanisms. The younger we are, the more capable we are to ignore it or justify the hold down because we have “plenty of time” for that later. But you hit a certain age and that gets harder to believe because time just is what it is.
Then you just have to either shut it down and get old, or work it out and keep journeying. I choose, obviously, the latter.
So here’s to living a life of badassery. Here is to the continued exploration of truth. Here is to leaving it all on the field and appreciating the feeling of exhaustion created in the wake of the good work. Here’s to feeling your age and appreciating what that feels like, even when it isn’t what you expected. Here’s to flipping the idea “I do (insert whatever here) so I am a good person” into “I am a good person so I can explore new things without fear.” Here’s to #teamunicorn 🙂
Here’s to Club 40.