Forty feels nothing like what I imagined forty would feel like.
Even into my early thirties, I imagined someday I’d probably just stop playing video games. I imagined this in the context of some fundamental and inevitable change that I would undergo as a person. At some point, I imagined, I'd finally get the appropriate psyche that you'd expect for an old person and with that I’d just put away these childish things and start reading newspapers more often, and maybe walk around talking to other old people about how tragic it is that no one reads newspapers anymore.
In hindsight it’s a pretty naïve way of thinking about age and identity, but until you'd have lived it, you just don’t know. When I was young I looked at people ten and fifteen years older and I'd wonder what was the thing that finally dragged down the edges of their mouth and made grim their expressions. The answer is "gravity," I suppose, but what I didn’t know was that, regardless of wrinkles and grey, they were probably the same person they had been when they were my age.
Thing is, I feel young. Arguably, at a mere forty I am still young. Sure, my bones make slightly different complaints than they once did, and my beard looks like a dingy snow bank, but if I go long enough without looking in a mirror, I’m always slightly surprised to not see the once-familiar young face there. It’s not just nostalgia, it’s that on the inside I really don’t feel much different.
That’s a pleasant discovery.