When I turned 25 years old, I had a huge party out on Ocean Beach, in San Francisco. I had two other friends with birthdays near mine, and we shared joint festivities. There was a bonfire, and a couple of kegs. I have a hazy memory of the rest of it–most likely, illicit substances were consumed*.
Yesterday, I turned 40 and, though it’s trite to say, I don’t feel that much different than I did when I was 25. I’m having a party tomorrow night, and again, I’m celebrating with a friend (landisdad being the one to turn 40 today). Somehow, it won’t seem like the right party, since the friends I had when I was 25 won’t be there. The friends I had when I was first really succeeding at being an adult have always felt like my ‘real’ friends, even though I haven’t spoken to some of them in 12 years or more.
I’ve had a couple of people tell me, in the past week, how they didn’t really feel like a grown up until they turned 40. I confess, I don’t really feel that way, but maybe it just hasn’t hit me yet. I mean, when I was 32 I had a kid, a husband, a mortgage, a real job–what’s not adult about that?
At the same time, I don’t feel bad about turning 40–it does feel like a significant (but not significantly awful) milepost along the highway of life. I think it’s safe to say I’ve achieved a certain modicum of wisdom, without really having given up the ability to make an ass out of myself.
I guess there’s not too much more than I could ask than that. I don’t ever want to be the kind of person who takes my knowledge and experience too seriously. I mean, after all, my life could just as easily gone in a different direction, and I could have ended up in a different place, with a different guy, living a much-less satisfying existence. It would be beyond foolish to ascribe the modest success I’ve had–as a parent, as an adult, as a worker–to anything other than good luck and good timing. I can’t say I’m hoping for 40 more years of that like–it seems too hubristic–but I can say I hope it will go on as long as I have to enjoy it.
*note to my children, if you’re reading this in the future–of course, they were not consumed by me!