I was really looking forward to turning 41.
That seems like an odd thing to say, but I really didn’t enjoy my year of being 40.
I had already built up a sense of mental dread about 40, months before my birthday rolled around. Then when 40 actually hit, I was already down and out, recovering from hernia surgery. While it got me out of some chores around the house for a couple of months, it still wasn’t a whole lot of fun.
If that had been the extent of things, 40 wouldn’t have been so bad. But about a month after my birthday, I slipped on some ice and bruised up my ribs pretty good. It was a couple of months before I could sleep on my side again.
Then, I had to say goodbye to my old dog. There are good dogs and there are great dogs, and to me, she was one of the great ones. It’s been almost a year, and I still get misty thinking about her.
Throw in some more gray hair, five pounds around the belly that just doesn’t want to go away, challenges at work, some unexpected major expenses — well, you get the picture. Forty was a turning point, and I wasn’t enjoying the journey all that much.
Don’t get me wrong, I have lots for which I’m thankful — a beautiful wife, great kids, a generally rewarding job, and only a few years left on the mortgage. We have matching furniture in the house (at least in some rooms) and we can afford to go out for a nice dinner every now and then (maybe that explains those five pounds). Those little things that kept adding up, though, it just seemed like a midlife crisis kind of year.
So 41 was going to be better — I was sure of it.
Then I got something in the mail that got me thinking: an invitation to my 20th college reunion. It can’t possibly have been 20 years since I finished school, can it? I mean, that’s half my lifetime.
I felt a little better when I realized that with turning 41, 20 years is slightly less than half my lifetime, so I’ve got that going for me.
But I started thinking about other big events on the horizon. In a couple of months, my son will be eligible to get his driving learner’s permit. I’m not sure that I’m ready for that. I was hoping the hair that isn’t gray would stay that way for a while longer.
And sooner or later, both of my kids are going to start dating. I’ve been hoping that would be later, because I’m definitely not ready for that.
And my parents have retired, bought an RV and are planning an extended visit next summer. Is anyone ever ready for that?
Put into perspective, maybe 40 wasn’t so bad after all.
Reach Clarion editor Will Morrow at email@example.com.