Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Birthday Letdown

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.


  1. So why didn't you make a list of things to accomplish before you reach the age of 50? I never set goals and that's probably why I work for Taco Bell and I'm 46. I think I'll get on that list idea maybe I'll really be something by 50 then. :-) Happy Unbirthday to you.

  2. Hey, my 41st was kinda sucky too. It was very anticlimactic because everyone is all "wow, you're turning 40!!!" the year before, and then it's, yeah, so what? Same thing when I turned 31. I turned 45 in May, so since turning 30, I have just focused on the "0s and 5s" as I call them. Turning 45 has actually been the most fretful birthday I have experienced in my life so far.....because the next one in my "0s and 5s" is, yes, 50. Now, it's 5 years away, but I keep thinking, wow, that's the next big one. And 41-44 seemed kind of boring - just filler years between 40 and 45.

    So I hope you experience some milestones in some or all of the years till you hit 45. I actually found 42 to be a prominent year for me. I got LASIK done, which for me changed my life as I was a Mr Magoo with the coke bottle glasses/contacts since I was 5 yrs old. I remember the exact date and time and my age due to the impact. I also met my best friend when I was 42. And she was only 24 when I met her - sadly I'm technically old enough to be her mom, but having her and her sisters in my life has really helped me remember my 20s......and appreciate being in my 40s! I wouldn't go back to my 20s for anything! I love that my life is soooo much more settled now. And I don't give a damn about a lot of things that used to rile me up.

    So - I'm still wishing you a Happy Birthday - because you may find 41 to end up being a special year for you! You never know! :-)

  3. Congratz and all the best on your birthday! It was a perfect cake though!

    - Cardinals Tickets