Boy, thanks to Facebook, a fellow can't ignore his birthday even if he wants to. (Well thanks, ever'body.)
Today's my 40th, and I think I know why people go a little bonkers on their 40th and not their 30th.
At the 30th, you're still measuring your life based on how you hoped or conceived it might be back when you were becoming an adult, in your late teens and early 20s. So even if you're not measuring up to your youthful notions of yourself at 30, at least you have some relationship with them.
(At 30, I was happy I was writing but sad that all my work was confined to the corporate communication "ghetto" as I called it. I loved this business but I wanted to write about things other than intranets once in a while. I managed to pull that off, writing all sorts of stuff for newspapers and magazines throughout my 30s.)
But at 40, you're past the sound barrier, beyond the gravitational pull, outrunning your headlights. What the 20-year-old you thinks of you now is immaterial, because the 20-year-old didn't think this far ahead.
Dear 40-Year-Old David: How would I know? I'm just a kid. It does trouble me that you're asking a 20-Year-Old for approval at this point. Aren't you a father by now?
That's where I'm at: Right where my dad always said I'd be, always said he was: all grown up and still feeling like a little kid, sometimes with nothing to do on a rainy day, sometimes anxious about bringing my report card home, usually scared of the big kids, often confused about what to do and, still, usually glad to wake up in the morning and see what will happen next.