1965 was a fantastic year. For those of us who made our grand appearances that year – – WELCOME TO 40 BABY!!!
I instituted a ritual in my family and amongst my friends. Everyone was instructed to party 40 days until they hit their 40th birthday. Of course, unless you’re a rock star, a full-fledged party would put you in debtor’s prison if not the hospital. But, I suggested little celebrations to commemorate the ending of an era. That era being, youth as we once knew it.
As everyone thought about my suggestion we began to have discussions about what we could no longer do. Technically, as long as you’re in your right mind and are in reasonably good health, you can do anything. But, after further scrutiny we 40 novices realized one thing. Being “able” to and being “willing” to are very different matters.
1.Drink from the spout of the keg
2.Party for three days straight
3.Spend our entire check on one outfit.
4.Fall in love at first sight
5.(Ladies) Go braless
6.(Men) Go all night
1.Drink water from my own sports bottle. The keg was usually kept in the bathroom, wasn’t it?
2.Supervise a slumber party. Most of us have jobs, kids, Pilates and yard work.
3.And entire check now must cover mortgage, kids, camps, Pilates and food!!
4.Please! Single at 40. We’ve tried computer dating, speed dating, the set-up, the hook-up We’re either divorced from, have restraining orders against or are too jaded to think such a thing is possible.
5.A good bra will determine whether or not you need a plastic surgery fund. If they’re still perky; go for it. If you think you will be able to tie them into a bow around your ankles in the near future; strap them down
6.Depends on what the activity is. If it’s your bladder; I’m sure you will. If it’s . . . other things . . .you can get Viagra on-line now.
Basically, we’ve all grown to a level of maturity that let’s us cherish the fact that we now know better. This transition is just in time to deal with the insanity of the teenagers we have been charged to care for.
As weird as it sounds, I have been looking forward to turning 40 since I was 20. I recall having a conversation with a lady weeks before my 20th birthday. She had just turned 40 and was depressed. I thought, “WHY?!” With age comes wisdom, right? Well, not for everyone. When I told her how excited I was in anticipation of turning 40 she said, “You’re crazy.” My 20 year old ears tuned her out. I’m glad they did. I did not, nor do I buy into the poison that growing old is a horrible thing. I embrace this new life. If for no other reason, I made it out of my twenties in my right mind and with all of my body parts. I sauntered through 30 like a cool breeze, in my right mind!
Think about all you did and all you now know and breathe a sigh of relief. Some of our classmates never made it out of their teens. Some of them are in prison. Some of them are confined to hospitals. Our parents weren’t crazy. They had already been through it and wanted to save us from the horror and pain. Some of us had parents who (thankfully) gave us enough leverage to forge our own paths.
Some of us didn’t have the luxury to exist in a sit-and-watch-the-world-go-by environment. My personal experiences run the gamut of tragic to awesome and I do not regret any of them.
•My mom died when I was 18 (she was 41).
•I joined the Military and saw the world. I was 22. I am also a Desert Storm vet and in my right mind.
•Have been in love; experienced lust and know that chocolate is a total necessity in life (for me at least).
•Being broke and being poor are temporary side tracks made when you’re not paying attention (or your bills on time).
•I know how to love and how to live through rejection.
•I know that size matters; one size does not fit all and just because you can get a free re-fill, you probably shouldn’t (especially during long road trips.)
•I know men don’t always think and women sometimes talk too much. AND visa versa . . .
•I know you can’t buy love, but you can rent some really strange stuff in Vegas.
•I know when I was 20; broke and 130 pounds people were really kind toward me.
•I know when I was 30, working a corporate job and making large loot; but, was 256, I couldn’t buy a date (buy could rent some really strange stuff in Vegas).
•I know at 40 I love owning my own home, cultivating my plants and have an open heart for the right somebody to share it with.
•Most importantly, I know life is to be loved, lived and shared at ALL ages.
My adventures have taken me from Louisiana to Indiana to California through Texas over the Pacific Ocean; into foxholes; past South Carolina; into Panama; temporary touch down at a war; on a base in the Aleutian chain, back to Louisiana; across to California (with a pit stop on the Price is Right); in front of the camera; behind the camera; face-to-face with a gun; numerous tire blow outs; many road trips; and most of this happened in a Saturn.
Where have you been? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? I’ve said all of this to inspire you to live life like you mean it. You won’t get a second chance. If life begins at 40 then, it’s time for you to live your life like its golden! Just because you can; and should.