Exit- Stage 30

22 May
A 30-something turns 40.

I turned 30 right after the pandemonium of Y2K. I’m turning 40 with much less apocryphal fanfare. On Jan. 1, 2001 I watched the sun come up on a pair of backcountry skis on a mountaintop far from the predicted anarchy of Y2K. I’ll turn 40 eating macky cheese with my 2-year-old.

Leaving your 30s behind means you’re probably already divorced once. If you’re going to have kids, you have them by now, and when you start working out the math and thinking about a high school graduation in your walker, you start thinking seriously about not scratching the procreation itch anymore.

The 30s are when you settle into some career. I had four careers behind me when I turned 30. I settled into the one I liked best and like any good American consumer, I now jot down the mortgage numbers and ride my Harley when I can. Vacations to sunny beaches and bow hunting to keep the Eye of the Tiger alive (that reference will probably be lost on you 30somethings, but it was the soundtrack for Gen X football games and athletic events. Get used to it 30-somethings, the cultural world will pass you by).

If you’re lucky, your clothes still fit from 29. If you’re even luckier, you can still find that hot not yet 30 something to slake you sexual thirst. Nothing keeps you feeling young like sleeping with the young. In my 30s I took one of the top mountain bikers in the country to her Stanford graduation. Guy at the door taking tickets said “What do you teach professor?” I laughed at the squirt. “I’m her date, call me grandpa.

We men are lucky that way. If you stay fit and you figured out something to do with yourself that pays, young women find you distinguished. If you’re broke, you probably always will be and women have figured that out to. So you better get used to Internet pornography or hookers. Or Match.com and trolling for the “curvy” ones.

In your 30s you still dream of romance. By 40 you’re thinking practically about good orgasms and someone that doesn’t inspire an overwhelming urge to come and go.

You’ve had the romance gene beaten out of you by years of realizing that if you’re really good to someone, they’ll take you for granted. If you’re aloof, members of the opposite sex can’t wait to try to fix you. Everyone loves the bad boy or bad girl, and few of us have the maturity to hang on to someone who treats us well day in and day out. By 40 you stop blaming everyone else and accept that about yourself as well as others.

Midway through my 30s, while still single, my teenage nephew told me “Uncle, you used to be the cool guy with the hot girlfriends. Now you’re just turning into the weird uncle who never got married.” When you get this kind of wisdom from a teenager, of course you take it to heart.

So I got married, had a kid, and found out my now ex wife was crazy after she emptied the banks accounts, swiped my daughter and alleged that I had threatened to dress up like Santa and kill her Mormon family in Utah. I lost most of the accumulated wealth of my single years to attorneys and psychologists, and came out the other side with joint custody of my daughter and the promise of lawyers and hearing for the next 16 years.

In hindsight, I should have hired a hot stripper to be a surrogate mom for me. I would have saved a lot of money overall, and I recommend this to any of you feeling like the biological clock is ticking. Rent a partner for baby production.

Or at the least make sure whoever you procreate with undergoes a thorough psychological exam. I didn’t find out my wife needed psychological help until midway through the divorce. Not the right time. You will not be able to provide the family you dream for your children if your partner was conceived in the Ninth Circle of Dante’s Inferno. Hire a stripper instead. Women have it easy. You can buy a sperm popsicle and the problem’s solved. We men have to rent an oven, too.

So what does 40 feel like? Forty feels like nothing. Turning 30 was hard. My youth was going to be gone forever with that birthday filled with so much significance. The end of calling myself a kid. Time to grow up. Have a family. Settle into a job.

At 40, I’m trying to stay in shape to continue to enjoy the fairer sex. Raise my daughter well. Keep stuffing the bank account whenever I can so some day I can sit on a sailboat in the Caribbean and smoke cigars while watching the empty Coronas pile up on the deck.

I don’t mind the gray hair creeping in. I know that six pack abs won’t get me as far as a six figure income. I don’t really care that my wardrobe is hopelessly out of date. Stylish shoes look goofy, modern music sucks, and I’ve seen hip hugger jeans come and go twice in my life, so seeing a butt crack on a bar stool doesn’t thrill my fashion sense, thong or not. Tramp stamps have become passe’ (though there was the one girl who had a compass pointing unerringly, well, you get the picture) and pierced whatever’s are as common as New Kids on the Block t-shirts used to be.

The only social pressure you have at 40 is people expecting you to act your age. I took a little sailboat out and got heckled by a bunch of high school kids last summer. I told them to blow me and would have  mooned them if I could have managed it in the tiny boat. To hell with acting your age! Enjoy being alive. Every day above ground is a good day.

By 40 you’ve buried friends, relatives and seen the husks all around you of people who just gave up. Watched too many settle into mediocrity. You’ve known people who took their own lives because they were in so much pain. To survive this life you find joy where you can. Whether it’s in the wilderness or wondering if you just threw your back out with that 20something who was oh so enthusiastic.

Enjoy your 30s. They’ll be over before you know it. I felt like I turned 30 yesterday. We’re all dancing with the devil with one foot in the grave anyway. Show the bastard that you can still do the boogaloo.

-P

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One Response to “Exit- Stage 30”

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  1. Our Most Gracious Thank You « - June 18, 2010

    […] high school graduation, she realized that she was old enough to be her mother? Or when the Professor shared what it was like to be leaving his 30s? Or what it’s like for Lorrie as a mom in her […]

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