As I start writing this, technicalities aside, I am an hour away turning 40. It’s a milestone that for a couple of years has loomed over me as time hurtled me forward. I wish I could say that I got here with grace, class and a smile. But, in actuality, I’ve been kicking and screaming and bemoaning my age. It seemed that I was met daily with reminders that I am not 25 anymore…I’m not even 35 anymore…and that made me, well, unhappy.
I am fighting myself as I write this…I want to detail all the ways that getting old sucks and all the ways that turning 40 has bothered me. I want to write about my emotional rollercoaster that brought me to where I am tonight. I want to spill my guts and ask for forgiveness from everyone for being such a baby about this. However, that would be counter-productive. I have mostly come to terms with the fact I am no longer 25 and to talk about how I am no longer 25 would be cheating on the 40 year old me that I now welcome.
Sure, I am scared of hurting myself if I try to play basketball, but that’s just good sense. Sure, I love to reminisce college and first meeting Andrea and working in baseball and the births of my sons, but I’d rather think and love these times and moments that are around me now. Old pictures tug at the heartstrings, October baseball is a time machine and videos of Benjamin barely five minute old send my over the edge, but that doesn’t matter so much. I have so many wonderful things around me now to take new pictures of, there will always be October baseball (just maybe not for my Mets) and there are some nights that I can’t wait for my sons to wake up in the morning so that I can talk to and play with them.
I do carry a bit of regret with me. I had hoped to be about 30 pounds lighter than I am now and able to ride my bike great distances, but I have confidence that will come. I had hoped to have the first draft of my novel completed by now, but I do have five chapters and more than 37,000 words written when I had no words written 2-½ years ago. So I am okay with that. I have confidence that one day, it will be complete (whether or not it is good is a whole other story). Of course, there are other regrets, but their time will come.
So that leaves me here, now about 30 minutes away from 40, and I have come to terms with who I am, the good and the bad (but still working to fix the bad.)
I have a beautiful wife that wants to spend time with me, and I with her. We are still deeply in love after nearly 14 years of marriage and nearly 19 years since our first kiss.
I have two smart and funny boys who make me laugh every day and fill my heart with such joy. If my novel never gets finished, but we’ve manage to raise two gentle and loving boys into two strong, loving and respectful boys, then I will have left my mark on this world.
I have a wonderful, caring family that I love and cherish and continue to show me the humor behind even the toughest of times and continue to teach me about love.
I still collect Transformers (the robots) and LEGO’s because they remind me that I don’t need to be a kid to still enjoy the things that made me happy when I was a kid. And don’t even get me started on my collection of tee shirts.
I love the tradition, lore and romance of baseball and the Mets continue to break my heart. But I love the New York Football Giants, as well, and they make my cup runneth over. Sports still fill me with excitement and nostalgia.
I dream of one day making a living at being a writer, but I have a really good job that allows me to be do the other things in my personal life that I love.
I love drinking my whiskey neat not just because I enjoy the taste and bite, but because it makes me feel like a badass (especially when I drink the Rye). However, there is nothing like a big bowl of ice cream that has just started to melt.
I could go on, but the point is, I like 40 year old me…I have a good life and I look forward to seeing what the next days, months and years bring me. No, I am not exactly young anymore, but there is a lot of living ahead of me.
A few months ago, I sat down to write a poem to try to deal with my emotions around turning 40 and, if I may say so, was some of the best writing I have done in years. I felt like it was full of just the right symbolism and it made made me happy writing it. However, I have yet to finish it. I have, in the past, been completely frustrated with trying to finish it. It has only been in the last few days that I realized the symbolism of that mere fact. Turning 40 isn’t the ending of something…It is a continuation. And while the first part is nice, the rest still needs to be written.
So, as the final panels of my favorite all time comic strip said, “It’s a magical world, Hobbes ‘ol Buddy…Lets go exploring. (And I turn 40 just as I finished writing this.)