I turned 39 this past summer. Not a momentous birthday. Went out with a handful of friends. Had a lovely dinner. Moved on.
Except, apparently, I didn’t, because I catch myself increasingly frequently saying things like
“Listen, we’re almost 40, we should…”
“We’re almost 40, isn’t it time we…”
“At almost 40, we should probably…”
As if it were a deadline after which things will Change, with a capital C, marking the difference between the Before 40 and the After 40.
I pondered it briefly while on a plane this past weekend – because nothing really makes you face your mortality and fragility more than those two seconds after the plane has taken off and is leveling off and you’re not quite sure if that’s what’s happening or if you’re about to nosedive back to the tarmac – and I realized that somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain, 40 is apparently when you become a grownup.
40 = grownup. End of story.
Which is funny a) because when I was a teen, had you asked me, 30 was pretty damn old and grown up, and b) some of the least grown-up people I know are pushing (or have pushed) 50.
But in my mind? I have 6 more months to live it up because after July 22, the party is over and the shit gets real.
Which is also funny because a) kids, b) mortgage, c) life.
On paper, grownuphood has already been achieved.
In my mind? Not so much.
Which raises the question to beat all questions.
Does anyone ever, really feel like a grownup?
And should we?
Is there any added value to being figuratively stamped with a big, red “Grown-Up” label?
I’m not so sure. Maybe I should stop saying “we’re almost 40” like it’s a momentous thing and just start saying “eh, we’re still young, let’s live it up some more.” I can probably get away with saying that until we’re 80 or so, right?