Thursday, 1 May 2014

Does Life End at 40? - for Danger and Play

So Danger and Play asked if life ends at forty? As they are coming up to the Big 4-0, it's a question for them. It set me off, and I even organised joining Disqus to post this...

Speaking personally, my life was starting all over again at 40, as I was in my first year of sobriety. It’s not for nothing that most AA’s count their sobriety birthday as more important than their natal birthday. That makes me 20 now.

As you said, the big 4-0 is nothing to be scared of, if you’re in shape, lifetime single and don’t have children. Why don’t I add ‘employed’? Because I was 40 when the UK economy was slinging as many white-collar workers as it could off the pension rolls and re-organising. I was out of work and had more pressing things to worry about than a number.

40 is when a man has to start figuring out how to make self-respect do the work that his hormones used to do: to show up and do his thing not because he’s driven and it’s all new and exciting, but because that’s what his self-respect demands. And everyone flinches. Nobody makes it through the following twenty years without slipping, falling off, tripping up, or any other simile you like. I had to haul my own ass from the tarpit in my mid-50’s.

I’ll tell you what’s great. The big 6-0. Again, if you’re in shape, lifetime single and don’t have children. I’m weeks away, and every morning I wake up, curse the devil for inventing work and taxes, and thank God for making me a bachelor with some self-discipline. At your age I wasn’t so grateful, because hormones and sex drive and stuff, but now I look at the old guys my age and I am so thankful I don’t have “someone to grow old with”. Call me Peter Pan, I could care less. I still lift, training five days a week, an hour a session. I still read interesting books, keep up with art movies and art, learn new stuff at work and stay away from junk food and culture. Never give up.

I got a couple of "attaboys" for this. Maybe I have a voice coming on?

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