Next week I turn 40. I am thrilled to bits about this, and here are the reasons why.
Number one: I am still alive. There are a number of specific people I can thank for this. I have thanked almost all of them personally at various times. These people have made a direct and powerful contribution to the Making Me Not Be Dead cause, a cause which I wholeheartedly endorse.
The fact that I still have a whole heart to endorse it with, not to mention other internal organs and various other body parts, is also due to a large number of people at several different hospitals and other medical facilities.
And I’m not even talking about one incident here. I am the buttmonkey of the universe; I am getting used to a life that’s similar to the opening sequence from Raiders of the Lost Ark, where you escape a ridiculous improbable terrifying disaster in the nick of time and then OH WHEW you’re safe WHOA no time to catch your breath, here comes the next one, and it goes on that way for two hours, except that my life so far has lasted even longer than two hours.
Number two: my life has got better every decade so far. Each has had its good and bad parts, for sure, but in general it’s been a nice steady improvement. I don’t see why this won’t continue. My 20s were ten years of being pushed to the limits of what I could endure emotionally, but I’m still here. Then I spent my 30s in the sheer delight of learning that a different life was possible; at the same time, I found myself being pushed to the limits of what I could endure physically. And once again, I come to the end of a decade and discover that I’m still here, and despite everything, I’m still having so much fun living my life.
I’ve done mental trauma, I’ve done physical trauma, and you know what? The honey badger don’t care. What’s going to happen in my 40s? Who knows? Who cares? I can deal with it. It’ll be awesome. Zombie apocalypse, global nuclear war, Yellowstone eruption, the possibility that the Avengers movie will turn out to be terrible — there is literally no nightmare scenario in which I won’t be:
- laughing at it
- assuming it’ll probably get better in a few minutes
- geeking out over how badass it is
- being distracted by a random shiny object or Internet kitten macro as the world goes down in flames around me
- making bad jokes
Number three: pretending you’re a different age is lame. Come on, people. If you’re turning 30 or 40 or 57 or 65, what the hell do you think is going to happen if you just say so? You know how little kids add months and weeks to their age and think it makes them seem older? Well, it’s just as dumb saying you’re 30-something as saying you’re six and three-quarters, only it isn’t cute-dumb anymore, it’s just dumb. You’re like fat people who won’t tell people their pants size because they seem to think that if they just keep the number secret, nobody will realize their ass is fat.
Number four: the only thing more annoying than pretending to be younger is pretending it’s awesome to be older while carefully never actually doing anything awesome. You’ve probably seen those Red Hat Society women. For those who haven’t, it’s not a Linux programmers’ club, it’s a club for women who are usually around 50-60 but dress and act like they’re 90 and sit around shrieking like harpies at luncheon outings about how empowered and non-old they are because they’re proud to be old and that means they’re not really old. In the meantime, normal women in their 50s and 60s are going snowboarding or getting their PhD or saving up for a backpacking trip to Croatia or something.
You know why it’s awesome to get older? Just one reason: it constantly increases your ability to do fun stuff. At various times in your life you’re going to end up with more confidence, more discretionary income, more free time, more knowledge of how the world works, and fewer people who can tell you you’re not allowed to do something. If you’re really lucky and/or well-organized, you’ll have all these things at the same time. If not, well, they’re all pretty good on their own or in any given combination. I’m lucky; I have a lot of these things, and I have no intention of not using them.
That’s why I’m glad I’m not 10 anymore, or 20, or 30, or 39. If I ever coyly describe myself as 40-something, I hope my friends will shoot me and sell the parts on the black market and spend six weeks in Las Vegas on the proceeds. There isn’t a single year of my life I’d swap for anybody else’s.