Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I turn 41 this week and so far, the anticipation has been anticlimactic. It’s not that I dread getting more lines on my face and more gray in my hair. To the contrary; my life has gotten better every year since graduating college. I am in the best shape of my life, more successful than I could imagine, and live in a terrific town. And while I’ve achieved a lot at this point in my life, I look forward to accomplishing much more.
When I was 30, I wrote some goals down for myself. Still a young man, I found that by fixating what I wanted to accomplish on paper, my goals became more real, giving me a sense of urgency. Some goals were simplistic but important to me, others were close to unattainable but I figured that if I didn’t at least try, why bother having goals in the first place. I wanted to be more successful in radio, although I didn’t know talk radio in my future and my true passion. I also wanted to lead a healthier life, since I had gained 30 pounds. Other goals, like traveling to Europe and touring the great museums, have not come to fruition, but I am working on them.
Turning 40 was a scary, wonderfully rewarding experience. People made a big deal, sending cards and calling me to share their birthday wishes and good will. Since the big 4-0 is the midpoint of an average man’s lifespan, you can really gauge how you’ve done in your career and personal life, what goals have been accomplished, and what lies ahead.
So far, my 41st birthday feels like catching leprosy. People acknowledge it, but they would rather leave me on the island and just move on to something else, like looking at baby pictures or winning American Idol.
Turning 41 is like a vast, lost, wasteland for birthdays. It’s like turning 26 or 72. I’ve never heard someone say, “You know, when I turned 41, my whole life changed!” Or, “When I was 41? Now that was a great year!” No one asks, “So what’s it like turning 41?” Why? Because it doesn’t feel like anything. It’s just another day in the week of October, as the days get cooler and shorter, and the football season finds itself in mid-season.
I wish I had more to look forward to as I turn 41, but my goals have been laid out for over a decade. Some I have accomplished (like not killing Gaydos; that is still a hard one to keep) and others are still down the path for me. But for now turning 41 feels as important as being on time for work. You know when to expect it and that it’s coming, but what’s there to be excited about?
So if you want to wish me a happy birthday, I have an idea. Save it. Wish me a happy birthday when I turn 42. Maybe that’s the birthday I should be looking forward to. After all, I have a whole year to think about it.