I turned forty on Monday. I was surprised to learn that I share a birthday not only with Leonardo DiCaprio, but also with Kurt Vonnegut. That’s only appropriate, given my brilliant writing talent and incredible good lucks. Yep. That’s me. Kurt Vonnegut and Leonardo DiCaprio, all rolled into one. That’s what I’m going to tell myself, anyway, because I feel forty, and it doesn’t feel too good. My mom told me on my birthday that being old was just a state of mind. My mind agrees, but the rest of my body hasn’t gotten the memo. For instance, it used to be that when I went to the doctor and they asked for my past history, I just kept repeating “No” until they were done.
“Ever have any heart problems?” “No.”
“Ever have surgery?” “No.”
“On any medication?” “No.”
That was how it used to be. Now, though, I’m the guy that makes the nurse have to slow down so she can record everything. I get sore from doing nothing. Exercise is essential or my muscles become a knotted mess. I have to eat less to keep my weight the same. I have a cardiologist, for crying out loud! Nothing screams “old guy” like having a cardiologist, especially when you and the office staff recognize one another’s voices on the phone. That’s bad, but none of these are good things.
Forty is not a state of mind. It is a state of my body. It is the state where my body is beginning to get run down. I may not be old, but I’m aging. That’s being forty. It’s not just careers and kids and wondering if your life is what you wanted it to be like in the Judd Apatow movie. Unlike the people in his movie I have a great life. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m physcially declining. At this point it’s more annoying than scary, but there’s no denying that I’m aging, and we all know where that decline takes you. It’s real. It will happen. To me.
This is actually forty, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to deal with it. That’s the hardest part about it. You just have to deal with the aches and pains and keep going, so that’s what I’m going to do. The alternative is to roll over and die, and I’m not ready to do that just yet. I have a great life, and I’m going to keep enjoying it. It’s just going to have more aches and pains in it..
This is actually forty, and it sucks.