40 sucks. 40 is accepting this is who you are forever. 40 is not the new 30. 40 is knowing evolution exists and you are now last year’s model waiting to become extinct. 40 is a wall you hit instead of climb. 40 is not an age or a feeling, it’s reality and when you stumble upon this particular reality there’s no turning back. Monday I turned 40. I’m still pissed about it if you haven’t figured it out.
I can remember a time in the not too distant past when 40 seemed beyond the horizon. It was so far away it barely crossed my mind and when it did it was so far across oceans and windswept deserts that it seemed just a dot in the map of my lifetime. Unfortunately while I was below deck my ship become grounded in its shallow waters and marooned me on its island forevermore.
What does being on these unfriendly shores mean to me? A lot of people say a lot of stupid things about turning older, They’ll tell you 40 is just an age and you’re only as old as you feel. Those are lies old people tell themselves so they can get up enough courage to look their cholesterol filled arteries and aching back in the eye. To me 40 is just past the apex of that hill called life. I and others like me who have turned 40 are now beginning the decent of the hill and I don’t have to explain what’s at the bottom, or half way down if you screw up and hit a tree head on. If you can you should stop and look around quick as soon as you turn 40 because this is as good as it’s ever going to get. The downward turn starts now so you’d be well served taking stock of where you are and enjoying the view.
I know what you’re thinking, there are stories out there of that lone guy in any chosen profession who finally found fame and success at 55 or 62 or 74. They’re the exception that proves the rule. Pick a discipline, any discipline, take a look at the people, well I call them people but really they’re just kids, at the top of the field, they’re barely old enough to shave or be drafted let alone vote or drink! No, any dreams you had that haven’t been fulfilled at 40 will now fall into the hobby category. I guess it’s sort of freeing to not have the pressure to write the next great American novel or finish the next, best concept album, you can now do what you want and just play for fun. Let’s be honest though, letting go of those dreams and accepting that this is what’s left and hurts just a little. I’ve had several of those dreams in my life and up until Monday I thought maybe a few of them might still happen. What happened? 40, that’s what happened. I’m a radio salesman and it’s probably time I accepted my Willie Lowman fate and figure out where I’m getting the next buy from. If I have any skill at all as a writer with any luck when I pass away my son will find a dusty locker in a basement and be able to sell them to a publisher and set up a nice retirement fund for himself. Other than that I hope he likes AM radio because it’s my legacy now. If you’re 40 don‘t kid yourself, what you’re doing right now is what you are.
40 is also the age where your body betrays you. My cholesterol is through the roof and my blood pressure is high. I’m taking pills and eating a diet of mostly grey food. I’m adding exercise and making practical decisions about my health. In Short, any joy I used to derive from food has now been stolen by that bastard 40. Oh yeah, I forgot that one, 40 is a thief in the night that robs you of pleasure.
The one bright spot in the darkness that is 40 is that you’ll probably have a party where you’ll get to see a lot of old friends and you’ll get to sit around and talk about, what else, the good times when you weren’t 40. Your husband or wife will probably do something nice for you and your son or daughter, still so young that 40 is incomprehensible to them, will treat you no differently because they don’t understand the significance of that dick 40. In a way their disinterest is comforting, it’s the one constant.
When it comes down to it there’s nothing fun about 40. You can’t drive for the first time; you can’t vote or have your head blown off in a foreign shore for the first time; you can’t drink for the first time; you aren’t starting college or getting your first apartment or getting married. No 40 sucks. 40, I hate you and given the opportunity will kill you in your sleep. 40, you better watch your back!