Recently I had to console an internet friend who was just turning forty. It doesn’t look very scary from the other side of sixty, but to her it was traumatic. As we chatted away, I took a stroll down memory lane Yes, turning forty was traumatic, but it wasn’t my fault.
You know how it goes. Everywhere you see the handmade posters, “Lordy, lordy, look who’s forty.” People constantly ask you, “So, how does it feel to be over the hill?” and shit like that. Sigh I got a ton of it that year.
When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see an old person, I didn’t see my mother’s face, what I saw was someone who was being bullied and demeaned. It pissed me off; I decided to fight back. As the big day arrived I was ready. Driving around the last bend in the road I saw the expected signs, pink flamingos, etc. They party was on and the mean teasing ramped up, right until I blew out the candles.
“So, what did you wish for?”
With a smile of pure delight I replied. “I wished that even one of you would have the courage to match what I plan to do this year. Any takers?”
The entire back yard fell silent. Finally a voice asked tentatively, “What are you planning to do?”
“First I plan to enter several athletic competitions, at least four; one for each decade. Second I plan to buy a mountain bike and train for a tough ride. I want to throw that bike in the truck and drive up to Hope then ride up the #5 highway to the summit.”
A soft voice was heard to whisper, “…just crazy enough to try it…”
So, was I bluffing? Hell no. Did I manage it? I did enter the competitions and did well. I bought the bike and trained hard, but couldn’t get anyone to drive the safety car. I offered to make it a charity ride, but still couldn’t make it fly and eventually gave that dream up. However, I didn’t hear any more about being over the hill either.
That piece of defiance gave me the confidence to take on more challenges over the years. In fact it was rather freeing. The point here is, turning forty is just mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
So tell me, have you crossed that mark and how did it go? Are you approaching that barrier and how do you plan to handle it?