On Not Turning 40

I'm 39. I'm 39. I'm 39! I mean, I'm going to be...


Sometimes in casual conversation I reference the fact that I'm going to be 40. This started when I was 37 and it seemed healthy, a way to get myself comfortable with the idea. But somewhere along the way I began having to stop and think, how old am I really? I became so comfortable with the idea that I was going to be 40 that I actually began feeling as though I was already 40. Not quite what I was going for.

I'm trying to remember now if I did the same thing when I was approaching 30 and I'm leaning towards yes but that was soooo long ago who the hell knows? What I do remember vividly is what a struggle 29 was, much much worse than 30! In the months prior to my 29th birthday and for the entire year after, I was absolutely consumed with concerns and expectations and pressure and God knows what else, the weight of the impending milestone of 30 crushing me everyday. And the baby lust, my God the baby lust... It was like biological clocks had formed from every single pore on my body, each one incessantly reminding me of what I perceived to be fast approaching infertility, my barren womb hollow and lonely.

Well thank the heavens I got over all that. Baby lust wouldn't strike again until the age of 35, coinciding with the unfortunate timing of my IUD removal. All of a sudden and out of nowhere, there it was, the bodily need, urge, whatever, to procreate. I spent months battling spontaneous bouts of loneliness and fear, all relating to the dwindling amount of years left to make use of my lady eggs. I remember the year earlier my gynecologist had made a point of asking if I wanted to have a fertility test. The idea seemed so wastefully absurd, I mean to what end? If I got the test and found out my eggs were nearly totally dried up, then what? If I got the test and found out my eggs were still squishy and moist with internal youthfulness, then what? Why bother? I had no partner, I was still broke, it seemed a non-issue. So I made the official decision to make no decision when it came to my reproductive anything. Oh yeah, and all those baby lust feelings passed. Again.

And now here I am in the final month of my 38th year. No baby lust, no regrets, no partner, no sex. Not at all what I expected but still pretty good. I still can't believe I'm going to be 39 in just under four weeks but I imagine this is common. I'm planning on celebrating but it's still up in the air just exactly how and where and when it will happen.

I'm not a big fan of birthday parties, especially when it comes to hosting them since I get way too stressed about the whole thing and forget to have a good time. This year I'm hoping to avoid all that nonsense by doing some simple activities with a handful of people I dig, enjoying something indulgent and calling it a day. I'm planning on sharing the celebration with a friend whose birthday is the day before mine, I figure it will halve the drama and decision making which would be better for both of us. So far I'm leaning towards eating fancy and overpriced vegan ice cream in the village and then shooting guns at a range uptown afterwards. Fingers crossed said birthday partner is on board.

In the eight, I mean nine, years that have passed since turning 30, a lot has happened. Some of the highlights:

  • Got sober
  • Bought an apartment
  • Left a soul-sucking job
  • Started traveling by myself
  • Attended the first Internet Cat Video Festival
  • Hugged a statue of Kirby Puckett
  • Came to appreciate dessert
  • Experienced Marfa TX before it started blowing up
  • And the biggest highlight of all, I learned to trust and act on my gut feelings.

Also, I think I "found myself" or something along the way but it was a sneaky shift so I'm not exactly sure when that happened.

Anyway! I've got good stuff going on. And I'm not 40 yet...