As some of you may have picked up on from reading my birthday post from last year, I wasn’t too happy about turning forty. I think I spent the entire preceding year in denial. And then there was that attempt I made to celebrate for 40 days straight. I’m fairly certain that my liver still holds a grudge. Today I’m feeling surprisingly o.k. about being an old fart. And that is despite some chronic health bullshit that is making me all too aware that the body isn’t gonna be getting any better.
So I’ve been sitting here thinking about whether or not I’ve learned anything in 41 years.
This is when I’m supposed to go into some nonsense about how life gets better and we all get wiser. That’s a lie. Sometimes life gets worse. Health almost always gets worse. A lot of us are getting poorer. People get sick and die. Governments repress. People do terrible things to one another. And there are a whole lot of people who use their years on earth perfecting their ability to remain willfully ignorant rather than actually learn something.
I don’t know how much I’ve learned. But I do know I’ve changed.
- My wanderlust has decreased significantly. I still like adventures, but I don’t want to spend all my time travelling and there are many places in the world I am quite fine with never seeing for myself.
- Instead of travelling I’d rather spend more time with my friends, building the kind of communities of trust and support that make life and social change possible. (And also getting wasted.)
- I used to think I could just put my nose to the grind and get things done and was contemptuous of people who spent all their time shmoozing. Now I think life is about relationships and that I need to learn the art of shmoozing.
- I no longer think the next thing is going to be better. Sometimes it is. Sometimes the next thing sucks ass.
- I try to stop myself from thinking big. It’s the little things that add up. Too much focus on the grand gestures, the big protests… It can really fuck us up. It is part of the ladder climbing mentality that we need to escape.
- I’m a huge grudge holder, but I’ve gotten better knowing all the mistakes I’ve made.
- I still feel the need to always be accomplishing something, but am working on my ability to do nothing without guilt.
- I have to work harder to dig up the righteous anger that we should all feel for every single injustice, even when the story is as old as time.
- I believe middle-aged hormones are even worse than teen hormones. But I have more agency and can make people get out of my face easier.
I’m sure there is more, but I need to get off my ass so that I can go get wasted and nap in a park. Because the weather is beautiful. And I plan on spending this birthday weekend getting drunk with friends, doing nothing without guilt, and feeling very lucky that I am spending my birthday with dozens of beautiful, imperfect people who I love and who are willing to wear polyester for my ridiculous disco party.
Also I have ludicrous shoes.
Today does not suck.