When a guy turns 40-something

Last year my 40th birthday came and went, and just a few weeks ago my 41st birthday whizzed past, too. So far, I am happy to report that I have not gone out and bought a shiny new saxophone or an expensive sports car, or hooked up with a skinny 22-year-old model.

I remember welcoming the arrival of the year in which I officially would become a 40-something with the enthusiasm one reserves for visits to the dentist or to one’s in-laws, or to one’s dentist who also happens to be an in-law. In my mind I was okay with the arrival of the big Four-O. But as the weeks went by and the fateful day approached, I became increasingly anxious. What exactly was bugging me? I thought I had made my peace with the inexorable march toward old age (assuming I got there in one piece) and ultimately oblivion. Friends tried to console me. “Fifty is the new 40,” one said, which only made me anxious about one more thing, the big Five-O that looming in the distance. “You don’t look a day over 37,” chuckled another, which should have been funny because it’s something I might have said. Nothing made me feel better.

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