Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Unbearable Weightiness of (Turning) Forty

I can see the crest of the hill now......the beginning of the latter half of my life. Then again, if I had been living each day as though it were my last - which we probably all should most likely do - I'd be used to this sense of denouement. But there are several things that prevent this logical, philosophical transition.

First, I don't feel like a grown-up. I have been feverishly Facebook updating recently, and frankly, in many cases, I can't believe how old some of my old friends look. Maybe not so much "old" as "older", and older than I feel I look. I'm sure I look shockingly older to folks who haven't seen me in 25 years as well, but it still causes pause. I sure as hell don't feel anything NEAR 40. And not quite like a Grown Up.

Next, almost all of my grownup friends have families - spouses, significant others, children, the whole American Pie thing. I'm not sure if that's right for me - I've become so comfortable being the 'aloof wolf'' that I don't think I'd know what to do if I had to spend actual uninterrupted time with someone. I'm purrfectly happy with my cat and dog. They're as happy as kids, can walk, don't shit themselves. have basic communication skills, and never complain about what I feed them. And they love to love on my feet when I sleep.

Now the scary part. I'm currently working in a small town (~40,000 people) in Northwest Ohio. I'm single, and I'm not into Budweiser, Nascar, or God - so I have very, very little in the way of shared interests here. Add to that my work with an oil company, and my the fact that I am an alternative-energy supporting tree-hugger, and you've got a good picture of limbo.

So, my joke nightmare when I was in my 20s was that I'd become one of those old ladies down the street in a little cottage house with a wooden fence where the kids would be afraid to retrieve their frisbees, because the woman who lives there is "weird", and has "junk from all over the world", and speaks "weird languages" and has pets.

To prevent this terrifying future, several friends and I had a pact in our 2os that if any of us were single at 40, we'd find eachother and marry. Scary prospect as it is - but it turns out all my backup men are married!

The most disconcerting part - and I just noticed this last weekend -when I talk with my older friends, some part - even if it is just a sentence - always goes the way of medical talk. Old people talk. See, if I had died in my 30s seeing almost 100 countries, I would have gone out on a high note. Now, even if I still have a good trip every year, the diminishing adventure over the remainder of my time will dilute the adventure of my younger years, and all of my best stories will begin with "I used to..." or "Once I did......".

There will probably be more paranoid rantings like these as the dreaded day arrives. The day at which.........I become.......a SPINSTER!!! oy vey.

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