A little over a week ago, I turned 40. I never particularly figured myself for being the type to get hung up on age issues, but I definitely had a reaction to the advent of this milestone. In fact, turning 39 set off a year-long slow simmering mini-crisis just because 40 was approaching. All the usual things came up: Is my youth gone? Did I waste it all? Is it all decline from here on out? Should I be further along than I am in terms of career? Finances? Achievments? Will women stop looking at me now? Wait a minute, did women ever look at me? Should I get a walker and start looking in to rest homes now?
And the verdict so far…?
Eh, it’s not so bad. The other day, when I overhead a young girl telling her friend that she had $14 dollars in the bank and $16 dollars in her pocket, I felt positively giddy about being in my age demographic instead of hers’. I even had the chance to do some journaling last week and realize that what I have in my life now is everything I wished for during despairing years in my early 30s. It doesn’t all look like I thought it would then, but it’s pretty damn good.
Even the year-long marination in low grade existential crisis had its benefit: I came up with a list of 40 things I wanted to do while I was 40. Kind of a proof to myself that life, far from being over, is full of as much richness as you want it to be.
Full disclosure: I got the inspiration from fellow Mortified performer and all-around superstar Sara Faith Alterman, who did a blog about her own Dirty 30 list to mark her transition to the decade that starts with 3. I figured it would work just as well for 4. So here, without further ado and in absolutely no particular order, is my own Forty in 40:
1. Take rock climbing lessons.
2. Try hang gliding.
3. Go to Burning Man.
4. Visit Nashville & Memphis.
5. Learn to ride a bike.
6. Do a mini-Triathlon
7. Do a 10-K.
8. Finish my 9th Step.
9. Swim in the ocean.
10. Start regular yoga.
11. Go to the Fringe Festival in Scotland.
12. Take a cruise to the Farallons.
13. Go sea kayaking.
14. Kayak on Elkhorn Slough.
15. Do a silent meditation retreat.
16. Ride in a helicopter.
17. Visit a haunted place.
18. Go to the Eureka Springs Arkansas UFO conference.
19. Take a DJing class.
20. Publish a zine.
21. Get some boots. Big ‘ole shitkickers.
22. Do something to explore Native American Spirituality.
23. Finish a draft of my new novel.
24. Finish a poetry collection and submit it for publication.
25. Finish my full-length screenplay.
26. Ride in a hot air balloon.
27. Write a song.
28. Take part in a dream group.
29. Get hypnosis.
30. Go to the hot tubs at Esalen.
31. Try Rolfing.
32. Go to a service at an Orthodox Church.
33. Go to a Santo Daime service.
34. Go to a Spiritualist service.
35. Come up with a career transition plan.
36. Let it all hang out at a nude beach.
37. Visit Alcatraz.
38. Visit the Marin Headlands.
39. Have a show in the San Francisco Fringe Festival.
40. Experience a psychic phenomenon.
I’m also giving myself permission to be imperfect. In fact, I think I’ll be doing very, very well if I can get to half of these. However it plays out, I’ll keep you updated along the way!