I have now been forty years old for thirteen hours, if my birth certificate is to be believed. Like so many others before me, and so many more to come, what I find is that being forty is exactly like being thirty-nine, except people are more likely to make fun of your age. What this tells me is that there is a meaningful lack of good 39-year-old jokes, but really not much else. I woke up this morning the same way I always do: with a big, cleansing stretch; the metal sound of the piece of titanium in my heart echoing up my jugular vein; and a notable disquiet at the acrid taste of morning breath in my mouth. The rare pleasure of sleeping in on a beautiful day off from work was not fully appreciated.
I’ve started my day in what feels like a relatively cliché way. I took a shower, put on a blue, collared shirt; checked my work email out of habit; packed my golf clubs into the trunk of my Lexus; and proceeded to knock about on what Mark Twain has described as a “good walk spoiled.” It occurred to me on the seventh hole, after I’d shanked my tee-shot into the deep rough near some trees, that perhaps I wasn’t getting the most out of my day — that, from certain perspectives, I was locked into the archetype of forty-year-old, middle-management, white guy to an extent that would perhaps seem sad. But then after a nice recovery shot (if I do say so myself), I snapped the picture on this article on my walk to the green as I realized that this was the kind of day for which I would wait through six months of winter.
Thing is, I’m in a place where I hesitate to talk about how I feel about my life, because I’m afraid it will come off as bragging. That’s a luxury and a sense of self-worth I’ve not had for many of the 14,610 days I’ve been alive to date. What I have become is the sum in the equation of a stretch of time much of which I would prefer never to live again. As the late-spring sun warmed my shoulder and I three-putted to a double bogey, I found myself with plenty of time to take a brief stock of my life.