So, between baking and packing and sleeping and more packing and stressing about packing and travelling and family-ing when we finally got to our destination – I didn’t get a chance to update here until today was technically here. Well here it is, I’ve turned 40!
Actually, right now I’m feeling slightly bewildered by it. During the approach I’ve examined my feelings about it and had no issue with the age itself, but now that it’s actually here and applied to me, it’s a little disconcerting. Is it the adultness of it? Maybe it’s just like a new extreme haircut that doesn’t feel quite right just yet. All the same, my “old haircut” doesn’t fit me any more either. The number “39” feels all wrong. “In my thirties?” *shudder*
I don’t want to go backwards. It’s just … well, maybe it’s just the decade change, y’know? Every time you switch into a new decade number for counting your age, it feels like a big deal and it feels like it comes with a whole bunch of expectations surrounding it as well.
10: Not a young child any more. Possibly expectations on this one were heightened by the fact that the older members of my family used to always use phrases like “I’ll tell you when you’re ten.” or “You can do that when you’re ten.” Of course, once ten actually rolled ’round I’d forgotten all the previous promises and desires.
20: Not a teenager anymore! Though “technically” an adult at 18, very few people expect adult behaviour of 18 or even 19 year olds. I guess there’s not a whole lot of expectations on 20 year olds either – I mean, in retrospect, I was still really a child at that age. But I was starting to feel the weight of expectation (maybe it was just my own), I was starting to feel that I should be glimpsing the “Arrival at Adulthood” finish line somewhere in the near distance. This feeling persisted throughout my tumultuous and very lost twenties until ….
30: Okay, yeah, definitely an adult right? And oh shit, what about my fertility?! What do you mean you’re not on the path to marriage and kids and you haven’t established a career yet? Oh, you have established a career, but … you’re going to change it?! What the hell?! Thirty is way to old to change your mind about anything! (Clearly 30 necessitated a sudden stockpile of interrobangs.)
So now. 40. On paper, not so different from 30 in the whole “definitely an adult now, no hiding from it kind of a way. Except for real this time, right? There’s definitely a flavour of “How can you possibly have gotten to this age without having figured out what it means to be an adult? What do you mean you haven’t figured out what it even means to be human yet?!”. I’m guessing I’ll need to invest in even more interrobangs for this decade change.
However, I’m also starting to get a bit of that “turning point” sense. You know, like when you get really into a topic or subject you’re studying or practicing and you get over a kind of hill and go “WOAH there is SO much I don’t know and probably will never know.”. So that’s kind of where I’m getting to now. About life. I mean, how stupid to have realised it about individual topics, but not about the biggest topic of all – living! I guess other topics sort of feel like maybe they accumulated their vastness across the durations of several, or hundreds or thousands of different individual lifespans. But basic living and adulting, well, that’s something we’re raised with seeing our parents and other seemingly responsible adults around us deal with on a daily basis. And they know what they’re doing right? So … Oh. Yeah. So that’s the big secret I guess.
Hi, anyone under 40 reading this. Spoilers – no-one knows what they’re doing. Or ever will. Sorry if you figured that out before me. You probably did, I’m a bit slow.
Anyway, I’ve had a bunch of thoughts on the not drinking thing too over this family celebration. I didn’t prepare for telling anyone that I’m not drinking, so now I’ve been served prosecco once (and can expect more in my future) and I don’t feel like making a big thing about not drinking, because … ugh. Anyway, let’s see how I navigate tomorrow.
I just really don’t want to talk about my decision with the twenty million people who are there to celebrate me. And maybe it should just be accepted for me to say “no thanks, none for me”, but now by lying about it and excusing my not drinking today with the implicit reason that I was “saving” myself for tomorrow, I’ve sort of set myself up in such a way that it would be really hard to bring it up casually.
Well, I don’t know how it will go tomorrow. All I know is that I won’t be drinking any alcohol. Because I don’t want to. And it’s my party and I’ll dry if I want to.