Turning 40 kind of snuck up on me. After all, my brother, who’s two years younger, has been lying about his age for years. By Anthony’s clock, I’m still 35. Or 33.
But it happened anyway and I was surprised most by what didn’t happen.
No red car. No strippers. No too-sexy-for-my-shirt addition to the wardrobe.
The day itself wasn’t a big deal at all. It was more a process of a few weeks leading up to it, and the days around it, where I felt sort of a lower sense of gravity in my self than I have before.
I was calm. Having spent the last seven years working on my writing career, with some real success, a lot of cool stories and even more quantifiable improvement, I was able to square myself in the mirror and say, ‘hey, you did what you said you were going to do.’
Thoughts of the future, and goals still to be met pressed on me just a little. I’ll get to them, I said, and sat down and sketched out some plans to do that.
But no real big crisis. Okay, well I did quit my [part-time] job to write 100% of the time, but hey, sometimes benchmarks are important for a reason.
I’ve experienced the flaring up of the latent handyman gene, and have completely dug up and redesigned two gardens [one at the house, one at my wife’s office]. I’m also currently working on refinishing an antique bicycle.
My wife’s been a pretty good sport about it, especially when she came home and saw the bike in a hundred pieces. “I thought you were just putting new tires on it,” she said. To which I shrugged and said, “gotta do it right.”
So now I spend an hour a day in the backyard, using a drill with a wire wheel to strip paint and remove rust from ball bearings. There are worse preoccupations to be carried away by.
One benefit of this was the Home Depot pilgrimage I insisted on. Julie had a terrible time waiting for me while I compared drill models and features against my budget and the job requirements. The upside of this is that I have leverage the next time she insists on a Pottery Barn excursion. [To date it’s HD 1, PB 28.]
The other benefits, the real ones, however, are here for a while, I think. Less anxiety about what’s going to happen next, an ability to focus on what I’m supposed to do and a general sense of well-being that I was surprised to find does come with having lived enough to know what’s important.Powered by Sidelines