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30 to Forty

And 30 days from today I’ll turn forty. Tick-tock. Though I’ve spent the better part of thirty-nine remarking on my impending middle age, starting today I can tell Father Time means business. When the alarm sounded at 7 this morning, I was already wide awake, painfully aware of the countdown about to begin.

It was different when I hit thirty-nine. Last August, I knew I only had a year left to do all the things I thought I’d do before hitting forty, become all the things I thought I’d already be. Rich. Famous. Married (to a man, of course.) Debtless. I knew time was against me, but still, 365 days at least gives you a shot–30 not so much.

When I was a little blogger in the early 70s, I once heard a Brady child remark on how far away the year 2010 seemed. I agreed. As a teenager, by 2010 the movies taught me to expect time travel, flying DeLoreans, and Jupiter turning into a new sun to warm nascent undersea life on Europa. I knew none of these things would happen when I took a morning walk into the future on January 1, 2000 and mused how cars along Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue curiously weren’t levitating yet.

But the other stuff. I can deal with being in the economic doldrums again given the coming and staying of the Great Recession. And considering how ookie it felt every time someone I didn’t know in Marina City cornered me in the elevator and asked me when I was going to update my blog, I can do without the fame. But a rewarding job using the copywriting and urban planning skills I’ve spent the previous thirty-nine years perfecting sure would ease the remarkable marking of time that’s about to occur.

I know everyone goes through this particular heart attack at one era-tagging age or another. I have a roommate who just turned fifty-nine and is musing on being sixty already. I’ve felt forty for most of thirty-nine. And we both agree that twenty-five had us wanting to jump out the window.

Of course, we have balconies now so the stakes are a lot higher.

There’s nothing else to do but let it all in, grimace, and move forward. I’d like to end these next 30 days with a smile on my face and the bulk of an early mid-life crisis behind me. So I’ll keep working through it. And in 31 days with a straight face, I’ll start telling people I’m thirty-nine again.

In my case, I think I’ve earned it.

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Mike Doyle

I’m an #OpenlyAutistic gay, Hispanic, urbanist, Disney World fan, New York native, politically independent, Jewish blogger in Chicago. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I write words and raise money for nonprofits. I’ve written this blog since 2005. And counting...

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3 replies

  1. I was thinking that “40 IS THE NEW AWESOME” could be a great new mantra. Also it could look good on a t-shirt which, honestly, has only ever been my sole criteria for personal mantras and manifestos.

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