Today, I turn 40. That milestone age, when you were in your teens, seemed so far into the future, while in the here and now, I find I have to remind myself I’m not 18 anymore.
I wish I had something profound to say about it. Something heartfelt or uplifting. Maybe an in-depth monolog looking to the inner workings of my psyche. Something so incredibly moving and timely that it’s shared for years to come.
I don’t. All I have is ‘patch-it’.
Forty is that age where, when people realize it’s your 40th birthday, they pull out the ole “It’s all downhill from here!”
“After 40 your body just starts breaking down and doing weird things.”
Some just simplify it like my sister did this morning and just go: “you’re getting old“.
The comments have all essentially came out of the same generic playbook. Then, the other day my age and birthday were mentioned during a zoom call, and my uncle, who happened to be on the call went “after 40, all you do is ‘patch-it’. You go to the doctor, they just patch the problem and you go on until the next. There really isn’t a fixing things anymore.”
It was different and didn’t feel so much the generic responses I have been getting, but more just a matter-of-fact comment on how things go. My first thought I had on these comments was that my body has felt like that for a while already. Seems I started early on the “patch-it” train. Trying to eat right and keep weight down, working out, and trying things like yoga, just to add a few years to my life, try and maintain a sense of healthiness, and put off any type of back surgery until I’m at least 45. Yeah, I’m essentially “patching” the issues, which has really been apparent the last few months. As soon as I move away from my regimen because of other obligations, things start unraveling. Working around a bad back, sore knees, and shoulders, avoiding even looking at a cookie. I have to maintain all my patches, because just like in the game Jenga, if any particular piece is removed, the whole thing is tumbling down, and I start the patchwork all over again.
The reality is, that “patch-it” mentality for my body has been present for a bit. That’s nothing new to me. However the whole “you’re getting old” and “it’s all downhill” junk just doesn’t feel like who I am. I don’t feel like I’m older, or that I’ve crossed any type of milestone. I still feel relatively young most days, I’m especially still young at heart. The same loves and fandoms I had growing up, are still present in my adult life. The one difference is, some things are just considered “retro”. I’m still just as geeky as I was in my younger years, perhaps just slightly more sophisticated. (Naw!)
I just don’t feel like I’ve crossed into some new phase of life as people make it out to be. So yeah, I turn 40 today, and I’ll make the jokes or play it up for some, but the reality is, it’s just a day. For me, it just means I now check off a different box on age ranges when filling out forms. I need to be more serious about having a will in place and monitoring other aspects of my health beyond what I’ve already been doing. I have a son coming in the spring, and frankly, I don’t have time for getting older!
Really, turning 40 in 2020 feels appropriate somehow. With how this year has gone? Why not?! At least, thanks to restrictions, I’ve managed to avoid any type of big celebration for this “milestone”.
So here’s to 40! An age and number that strikes fear into the younger, a point in time for the older, and just another number for this Dad, now in his 40s.