“I’m 40 now…I’m half dead, basically. 40’s a weird age. You get to this point where, like, you’re not old enough for anybody to give a shit that you’re old. Nobody’s like, ‘I helped a 40 year-old guy today, and it felt really good to do something for him.’ Nobody spends their holidays delivering hot meals to 40 year-olds. And you’re not young enough for anybody to ever be proud of you, or impressed. They’re just like, ‘Yeah, do your job, asshole. Nobody cares. That’s what you’re supposed to do.'”
I knew it was coming, but somehow it still snuck up on me. It sounds so weird.
I’m not freaking out completely – I’m still young, 40 is the new 30, all that jazz – but it still seems a much more significant milestone than 30. People in their 30’s are still practically kids. 40 year-olds are decidedly not kids anymore. You’re supposed to have things pretty much figured out by now, and the fact that I don’t is a little disconcerting. I began reflecting, thinking back to how old 40 used to sound, and what I imagined I’d be doing once I got to be this age. Here’s what I came up with.
When I was 10, I thought by the time I was 40…I’d already be retired from my Major League Baseball career, and would have transitioned to a new phase as either a play by play announcer or color commentator. Baseball was my life at that age, and for several years after. There really wasn’t much more to life at that point, aside from school and the original Star Wars trilogy.
When I was 20, I thought by the time I was 40…I would be making a living somehow in the music industry. I never had true “rock star” dreams, like selling out arenas or getting platinum records…the truth is I never really wanted any of that. I’ve always been drawn to art that’s a little off center, so to speak, so I never expected to get rich from music. But at that time music was basically everything to me: working in music stores (both selling CD’s and selling instruments), constantly playing in bands (a death metal band morphing into a punk band morphing into a hardcore band with some dabbling in rockabilly and swing), briefly giving guitar lessons…everything revolved around music, and I was sure it would be how I made my living.
When I was 30, I thought by the time I was 40…My new “real” job would provide my new bride and I with everything we needed to get by and still allow me to go about pursuing my art. There was nothing stopping that from happening except for me getting in my own way. By this point I had gotten back in to writing again, having already written my first novella as well as still writing music. But something happened. Looking back, I guess it was complacence; it felt nice to relax and enjoy having a house and a wife and a dog, and just take a little break from creating for a while. That lasted longer than I would have guessed – until just a couple of years ago, when my artistic side began to bubble up again until it was eating away at me.
And now that I’m 40…I feel a slight need to make up for lost time. I spent enough time dicking around; it’s time to get some stuff done. Maybe that feeling is just the start of the fabled Mid-life crisis. Before long maybe I’ll be shopping for a sports car and going skydiving.
I don’t have many regrets for the way things have turned out this far, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy to just sit back and let any more time pass me by. For all the passion I’ve always had toward creating, I don’t have much to show for it aside from a couple decent-sounding demo tapes, some wild tales from some pretty cool gigs and some roughly written stories only a few people have read. So now I’m trying to make my mark – write my books and get them published, be it the traditional route or self-published. Like with my music, making money at it would be great, but that’s kind of beside the point. The point is putting something you created out into the world and knowing someone, somewhere enjoyed it.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I got up before work so I could practice what I just preached and write a little. But first, I might be on Google for just a few minutes…how much does skydiving cost, anyway?