40-What?

In a few short days, I’m turning 41. It’s a tiny bit unnerving, having another birthday looming around the corner. These babies are starting to stack up. When you have just a few decades behind you, say two or three, you know you’re just a novice in the game. Once you hit four or five, now this is serious. This week, I met with a recent college graduate and it occurred to me afterward that I’m 20 years older than she is—literally twice her age. I still think of myself as having graduated recently. Sure, today, I’m still on the sidelines of my 40s. My shoulder is even brushing my 30s. But I’m about to cross into 41 and it seems I’m entering a new world. In this world is my mid-career, a boatload of college loans for my kid (if he gets that far), and joints that need glucosamine and chondroitin to stay lubed up. Sure, there are things that are liberating about your 40s. You are hopefully a bit more secure, emotionally and financially. You’ve somewhat figured out who you are (at least on the odd Thursdays). And you’ve learned a thing or two so you’re moving on to Life 2.0. So I’m not as depressed as I might sound. I just had some goals I thought I would’ve accomplished by now. Like taking a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Winning a Pulitzer Prize. Or at minimum, I thought I’d have a cute convertible and a house in La Jolla. Instead, my pilgrimages involve Mel’s Funway. I write between 10:35 and 11:00 pm. And I drive a pre-owned Volvo that seats seven. All that said, I like my life. It just doesn’t look exactly like I pictured it when I was 19. And the way time zips by—even in my Volvo SUV at 17 miles to the gallon—it sometimes makes me catch my breath.