So yesterday was my 40th birthday and I took it hard. I’m sure plenty of people have written about getting older and the effect it has had on them, etc. but for me I was a little surprised at how much it bothered me. When I was younger I was adamant that I wouldn’t be your typical middle aged person. No flashy purchases. No trying to relive my youth. Not stressing over gray hairs, or anything like that. I completely expected to age gracefully. And then I turned 38. All of a sudden I realized I was the age that I thought was old, when I was younger. The older head(s) in the neighborhood who I thought were cool but well, old was now staring me in the mirror. What the hell? I could not reconcile it. Sure I know getting older beats the alternative but it always seemed like everyone else who was getting older was having more fun along the way. Which must mean I squandered my youth, right? If I don’t have enough of “those stories” you know, the ones that makes everyone go “ohhhhh yeah, I forgot about that. That was hot,” then I haven’t lived. Now here I am, a responsible adult, in the rat race, saddled with debt and eating woulda, coulda, shoulda’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What was acceptable 5 years ago is no longer the move for me. Not progressing professionally now feels like nothing but failure. What used to be real dreams now feel like pipe dreams. Before it was something to strive towards, now it feels like I missed the bus and I have to wait, for who knows how long, for the next one.
You see all of that I wrote above. Isn’t that some Debbie Downer shit? That was what went through my mind for 2 whole years. I had to shake it off (oh and by the way, I did a quick search for the song Shake It Off, not knowing Taylor Swift has a song with the same title as Mariah’s). Anyway, the upside to being 40 is that you realize that most major shit is minor. Time flies so fast that you don’t even mind scheduling things in advance because this isn’t like being ten years old and waiting for Christmas. Anything that seems far off you already know will come and go in the blink of an eye. Hell, you wish it would take longer, but it won’t and you just roll with it. I now realize I’m the author and I am in control of my actions in this story. I can change the narrative or I can choose not to, but either way, it’s my choice. I don’t have to settle for anything. Yes, there are constraints and parameters to what I can and cannot do, but by the age of 40, I’ve learned how to navigate in that space. The greatest understatement of all time is, “youth is wasted on the young;” however, that process of “wasting” is really just sowing the seeds of wisdom. My 40s is the beginning of my harvest.