growing up

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!


July 11, 2008. growing up.


  1. Anjali replied:

    And don’t forget. In this day and age, 40 is the new 30.

    Many happy returns, from someone who thinks she’s still 24.

  2. thordora replied:

    Happy Day!!!

    I have a journal with pages of stuff written while high on acid. One page is literally a note to my future children. I cannot wait for them to find it when they’re 15 or so. The realization that your mother was a druggie will hopefully take all the fun out of it. 🙂

  3. Elizabeth replied:

    Happy Birthday!

    I’m not sure I’m ready to be 40, but I sort of like the idea that I’ll probably be an empty nester for my 50th.

  4. TEOM replied:

    Happy Birthday! I hope you feel well and truly celebrated at your party and that the first year of your forties brings much love and laughter.

  5. Velma replied:

    Happy Birthday!

  6. Jennifer replied:

    Happy Birthday! I haven’t found 40 making me feel very different (I just turned 41). I found 30 really knocked me around though – no longer was I in my 20s. I think the milestones just hit everyone differently, my mother was amazed by my reaction.

  7. Jeff replied:

    Happy B Day!

    Here’s to hoping we never actually “feel” like an adult.

  8. Library Lady replied:

    Happy Belated Birthday!

    You know, I don’t think I’d mind getting older–if only my kids wouldn’t do it too. Sigh…

  9. Alexandra replied:

    Happy belated birthday!!

    My husband is turning 60 this year and he still behaves like a kid every day; there’s hope for us all 😉

  10. jen replied:

    Happy belated!

    I don’t know that I feel like a grown-up at 40. (I turned 40 in March of this year.) I do however definitely feel “lapped” in terms of pop culture. I’ve just recently lost that sense of taking part in popular youth culture, that the ad images of people in bars are aimed at me. These days, when I see those ads, they seem to be filled with the kinds of people who report to me at work. Sigh.

  11. Jody replied:

    Happy Birthday! I’m edging toward the sort of realization that jen wrote about — that pop culture and the folks who sell it have lost interest in my “vote.” [And to think that I felt like an “old” Buffy fan, eleven years ago. Ha!]

  12. Clover replied:

    Happy birthday! I hope it was fun!

  13. MommyWithAttitude replied:

    I’m always late — but happy birthday! I still feel 25 too — until I look in the mirror, then I remember! But really, the possibilities are still endless, even at 40.

  14. the year in review « Bumblebee Sweet Potato replied:

    […] and oh, how I’m missing those hot days now! Right after we came back, landisdad & I both turned 40, and celebrated by canceling our […]

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