It occurred to me today that I am the exact age that my father was when he and my mother adopted me.
I can't imagine how he did it. I feel so old right now, the prospect of chasing a baby around the house makes me want to take a nap. Or have a heart attack -- whichever would result in a longer nap.
I'm 39 years old. I sound like Jack Benny, who claimed to be 39 until his death in 1974 at the age of 80. I have always maintained that age doesn't matter, that it's just a number, that I don't care. But that is bullshit. I do not want to be 40. I really don't. It's not like I'm going to jump off a bridge or anything, but I really would rather this not be happening.
It's not just the number. It's all the meaning that I'm attaching to it. You're supposed to be settled at 40, established, planning for retirement. Are you fucking kidding me?
I don't have a 401(k). I have a comic book collection. And $40,000 of high-interest credit card debt.
I am no more settled at 40 than I was at 30 or 20. Probably less. The only problem is, the older you get, the harder it is to change. Which is why I'm so struck by my dad and his new fatherhood at the age of 39.
Keep in mind that that was 1969. Things were different back then. 40 may be the new 30 today but back then, 40 was 40. Back in those butter-eating, cigarette smoking, treadmill-free days, guys died in their 40s. My father's older brother died when he was 46.
Nowadays, 40 year-old guys are still skateboarding in their hoodies, their iPods blasting age-defying pop music. But that doesn't make me feel any younger. My knees hurt and I'm starting to hobble around like my father -- my 78 year-old father, not the 39 year-old guy who adopted me. I'm a mess.
I have 9 months to do something big -- to change my life in a major way, so that I can feel less like a failure when I hit the big 4-0.
What can I do today that will result in a major change in my life 9 months from now?
I know what you're thinking. But stop thinking it. I can barely afford new underwear right now.