I’ve been dicking around with this post for almost two weeks. Enough.
I’m not apologizing for the title. You don’t grow up with two Jimmy Buffett loving parents and not riff off of A Pirate Looks At Forty. I think there are actual laws about it.
Anyway. Here I am. Thirteen days ago, I turned forty. My entire life, I heard nothing but “over the hill” jokes about turning forty. Forty was supposed to be the end of everything. Nothing good happens after forty. Might as well pack it up, folks!
I admit, my life at forty is neither glamorous nor exciting. I don’t hate my day job, but I’m not over the moon in love with it, either. My apartment is, as usual, in desperate need of vacuuming. My car is twelve years old and looks it. My cats hate each other. I’m single…I don’t really mind it, but I am. I do not own coordinated towels, my bedding doesn’t match, and on one occasion in the week leading up to my birthday, my dinner consisted of slices of cheddar cheese rolled up in tortillas because I was frantically trying to finish writing book three and there was no time to cook anything. Also, I own one proper bra. One. And my best friend threw me a birthday party, and nobody came.
But. Just, but. The thing is, I’m here. I am here, at forty. Walking this earth, breathing this air. Given that there have been multiple occasions just in the last decade where I was sure this would not be the case, where I was sure I could not go on and I would not make it, well. It’s kind of a big deal.
At forty, I can say I have published two novels, with a third on its way. I can say I have planted a balcony garden and some of it did not die. I can say I have a skin-care routine. I can say I gave up soda and that I drink a lot of water. I can say I walk a mile four times a week. I can say I support myself and that I am finally building up a savings account. I can say that if you forced me to do it, I could have a stumbling, halting conversation in Norwegian (although every other sentence would probably be punctuated with some sort of profanity, but if I am being perfectly honest, I’m like that in English, too, it’s just faster then, and more full of franken-swears), which is notable because it is the first time in several attempts to learn any language at all that I have gotten to an even elementary conversational level.
I can say I am alive, and pretty happy, and that I have plans. I want to go overseas at least once in the next year if not twice. I want to cut back on a lot of my possessions. I have a very important-to-me-book I want to write. I’d like to lose weight, but it’s more important that I just get into better shape. I have, in short, a lot going on. That’s kind of great.
Forty, from here, doesn’t look so bad. I mean okay, the political landscape in America is fucking terrifying and growing more so by the day, but, I mean. Apart from that.
Life at forty. Here we are. Let’s see what’s next.