So yesterday I finally turned 40.
Not that I’ve been waiting to turn 40. You know, just sat at home in a chair watching the world go by and now I’m 40 I can finally be free to go out into the world.
But that’s what it had felt like with many peoples responses to me turning 40.
This past week everyone that knew I was turning 40 wanted to know what I was doing to celebrate, was I doing something extra special, because you know 40 is a big thing.
I didn’t think it was. And still don’t, but others seem to think the opposite.
I get excited and happy about things. But celebrating my birth and the 40th anniversary of it. Not so much.
I get excited about the end of each year. What I’ve experienced, learnt etc. And I enjoy looking back on the year and then forward to the next.
But getting excited about the anniversary of my birth. Again, not so much.
Sure I enjoy receiving gifts. As anyone might.
Sure I enjoy eating special birthday foods. As anyone might.
And sure, I enjoy receiving attention from people. As anyone might.
But I don’t feel like it’s that much of a special day.
Especially reaching a certain age.
It feels the same as any other age.
Even reading about other people’s experiences of reaching 40. I still don’t feel any different about it.
Age is just a number.
Cliche I know.
But there is more to it.
For me, anyway.
I’ve never been a trend setter.
I’ve never been first to the party.
I’ve always let others go first.
But as I’ve gotten older. I’ve started to catch up.
Perhaps turning 40 will mean I will be a trend setter. Perhaps I will be first to the party.
Perhaps I will go first for once.
I’ve always done things differently to others.
I watch. I read. I listen. I learn.
I assimilate what makes others happy and I do my own thing, my own way that makes me happy.
Watching others. Reading about others. Listening to others. Learning from others.
I won’t lie, it has been lonely at times.
But that’s because I’ve wanted it to be.
I don’t do large crowds. I don’t do large circles of people I don’t really know.
I do small intimate circles of people who I allow into my world.
I allow them to share their world with me.
Some people don’t understand that, some people don’t accept that.
Others do and we share each other’s worlds.
It might only be a fleeting moment in each of our lifetimes.
It might be every day of our lifetimes.
It might start unexpectedly and end even more so.
It might start meaningfully and also end so.
Turning 40 has made me accept the interludes of loneliness.
Turning 40 has made me realise that the loneliness has allowed me to learn who I really am.
For a long time I was scared of the loneliness.
I allowed it to consume me for long periods of my life.
But without knowing it, I was still watching. Still reading. Still listening and as it turns out, still learning.
Perhaps I’m not so different after all.
Perhaps I’m talking shit.
Turning 40 is just a number.
But it is a number that has allowed me to become who I am today.
Turning 40 isn’t defining. But my life until 40 has been defining.
I wonder what the next 40 will bring.
Until next time…