On Turning 40...
Is this the half-way point? The idea of another 40 years is exhausting to me. I don't want to seem ungrateful because I have so much to be thankful for, but honestly... I want to take a nap just thinking about it.
I'd had enough in my 20's. I remember thinking that making it to 42 would be a good run. I'd be satisfied with that.
40 is where shit starts to fall apart. Last year my eyes went from needing reading glasses occasionally to needing them for anything that's less than a foot from my face. My elbow hurts sometimes. Things take longer to heal.
This is also where the dread of retirement kicks in.
Have I saved enough? (I haven't)
Will I even be able to retire? (Probably not)
I try to stay active, but between working my day job and writing and social time and house upkeep and relaxation time and eating, I'm pretty well maxed out. I have to find combos, like hiking and yoga, which check two boxes - exercising and relaxing at the same time.
My one young attribute is my ability to stay up late. That's pretty much it, and I've always been a night person, so I'm not even sure that counts. I mean, I'm short and fairly thin, so people assume I'm younger than I am. But honestly that's all. I'm short and I stay up late. I'm basically a slow loris.
Essentially nothing I've planned on or hoped for has turned out the way I thought it would. I accidentally backed into a career. I am not a famous singer. I am not a famous writer.
I thought I had finally figured out who I was in my early 30's, only to realize that I still have a lot to learn, and maybe that's the point - to stop thinking you've got it figured out and realize that you may never actually have anything figured out and that all life prepares us for is adaptation.
That makes a lot of sense, actually.
I've had some setbacks over the last couple of years in reference to making my writing dreams come true. When reality sinks in, it can sting a bit. My penchant for going after what I wanted no matter what the cost has backslid to a place of calculated risk assessments. Balancing my enjoyment of the process with a cost/benefit analysis. Saving for the future versus living in the present.
My 40 year old fear is that I'll land somewhere in between. Never really investing in the present and not saving enough for the future.
Are you familiar with the term "yard sale"?
It's when a skier wipes out and loses all of his gear. Hat, gloves, goggles, skis, you name it... all scattered around you while you're plastered in the snow.
That's me. Turning 40. Lost somewhere in the middle.
Not really failing, but not really succeeding and complaining about my elbow pain the entire time.
Humility is the other factor. The more I understand the craft of writing, the more I feel like I've been winging it. That I'll be exposed as a fraud. It's a fear that pushes you back to place where you take fewer chances.
I'm a man living in two worlds simultaneously and it takes a toll. Is this a hobby or is it still in the realm of possibility? There's a shift that needs to happen, moving from external validation to internal validation. I love what I do and the stories I tell, but at what age do you say "it's time to pack it up and be an adult"?
I don't think that time comes for me. I was probably emotionally stunted at an early age, but there's something inside of me still fighting for that dream.
Boy this is long and turning into kind of a downer.
Stan Lee was 40 when he created Spider-Man. So there's that.
Yeah, I'm old(er) and my elbow hurts, but I'm still working and writing and hoping and I don't see that changing. My level of engagement is the biggest piece here and the thing that really needs addressed. Life gets in the way sometimes and that happens to all of us.
Will I die trying to make my dreams come true? I can only hope that for all of us.
Thanks for reading...