Somewhere in between Xmas and New Years is my birthday. It’s always vaguely forgotten because of a combination of holiday fatigue and me not really caring about birthdays. This one is supposed to be a scary one…40…but it doesn’t bother me. I feel 40. And sometimes 8. And occasionally 90. And on terrible, terrible days I’m an awkward 14. But 40 seems fine.
Someone told me that “40 is the new 30” but I think more accurately “40 is the new I-don’t-really-give-a-shit-about-how-old-I-am-because-I’m-finally-learning-how-to-be-a-bad-ass-so-get-out-of-my-way-or-I-will-shank-you-thank-you-very-much.” 40 means you’re finally old enough to be trusted with a taser, or a bunch of fainting goats. (Someone tell my husband that, please.)
40 means you get to be staunch one day and flighty the next, and no one can question you because at 40 you’ve pretty much decided who you’re going to be, and people realize that they should either avoid you completely or just come along for the terrifying-but-entertaining ride.
40 is when you still wonder what you’re going to be when you grow up, and then you remember that you are somewhat grown up, and then you laugh at the very idea of you being considered a grown up and promptly pour yourself a drink as the lights go out because you’ve forgotten to pay the electric bill again.
40 is when you get to be just as stupid and forgetful as you were at 20, but instead of blaming it on being stupid you can pretend that you once knew all of the answers to Trivia Pursuit but you’ve simply forgotten a few things because you’re getting older. And no one can question that. This same logic works for asking questions everyone else is thinking but won’t say out loud, using the wrong fork, calling out people on their bullshit, and forgetting everyone else’s birthdays. It’s not your fault. You’re 40. You’re just young enough to still do everything you still want to do and just old enough to not do anything you don’t want to do ever again.
40 is a get-out-of-jail-free card for any slight faux-pas, for “accidentally” running over political signs you don’t like, and even for a few minor felonies.
40 is perfect, and I am ready to embrace it with grace and with glee.
Please remind me of that in two days when I turn 40.