The Big 4-0 is just a few days away
OUT FOR A WALK
Exactly 10 years ago this week, I wrote a column under the headline, “Turning 30 doesn’t have to be so bad.” At that point in time, the prospect of no longer being “in my 20s” shook me up a little, causing me to take stock of all I had done — and left undone — during my first three decades of existence.
According to that column from 2009, I was proud of myself for having checked off several “adult” milestones, like graduating from college, starting a career and switching from Mountain Dew to coffee.
Even back then, I was already looking ahead to that inevitable time when I turned “The Big 4-0.” “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it,” the younger me wrote back then.
Well, now I’m at that bridge.
To be honest, I’ve kind of “felt” like 40 for the past couple years already. My aching, stiff back, my expanding waistline, and the CPAP mask I wear every night all remind me that I’m a long way away from my 20s at this point. I’m even going to bed earlier than I used to. Pretty soon, I’ll be having supper at 4 p.m. and falling asleep during the 10 o’clock news — even on weekends.
But, looking back, I’m really happy with how my 30s turned out. The undisputed highlight was meeting and marrying my wife, Linda, who has now been my official life partner for five solid years, as of this past September. I never really remember the “honeymoon ending,” as they say. That newlywed period — with all of those fresh memories of the wedding and receptions, etc. — slowly gave way to quiet domestic bliss. The best way to describe it is that Linda is my home; without her, I’d be lost.
I’ve also upgraded my living arrangements, bought a relatively new car and converted to Catholicism in the past 10 years. Whenever I feel like I’m getting dangerously close to “peak adulthood,” I have to make a fart joke or re-watch an original “Star Wars” movie just to keep in touch with my inner adolescent.
Sadly, I’ve also said goodbye to my last two remaining grandparents in the past 10 years, along with my father-in-law, who blessedly lived long enough to see Linda and I get married. I also attended the funeral for my original journalism mentor from high school. That’s one of the true downsides of getting older — the higher frequency of final farewells.
On the flip side, I welcomed the arrival of another niece, Morgan, and a great-niece, Aleea, which means that the nephew I used to babysit is now changing diapers himself. Getting to know the next generation makes the aging process much more rewarding.
So, yeah, 40 doesn’t seem so bad, but that means 50 is creeping up in 10 years. That’s a full half-century! I may need help crossing that bridge when I get to it.