The 40th Birthday

I turn 40 at the end of the week, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  Up until now I haven't really felt much, certainly nothing like a mid-life crisis.  So maybe it's time for some soulful introspection.  Lots of my friends recently hit this milestone (or are about to), and there has been much discussion and many birthday wishes posted on various Facebook pages.  It sounds like a big number.  I'm probably supposed to feel old (or at least older).  But things are pretty much the same as they've been for as long as I can remember.  My knee aches on occasion, but I can still hit a golf ball and still remember my home phone number.

I recall sitting in a locker room getting ready for one of my hockey games when I was 12 or 13.  Prince's song "1999" was playing on the boom box.  Don't ask me why we were listening to Prince - typically it was Ozzy or J. Geils.  It must have been on Casey Kasem's American Top 40.  Or maybe someone's sister left her tape in there the day before.  Anyway, I was thinking that the year 1999 sounded so far off.  I would be almost 30!  I would have a job.  I would probably be married and have kids, although at the age of 12 the thought of actually finding someone to marry was inconceivable (as it would still be at 28).  However, the chance of any of these things coming to fruition seemed infinitely remote as I was certain we would all be annihilated during World War III based on predictions made in that movie about Nostradamus that scared the shit out of me.

So here I find myself some 27 years displaced from that locker room scene, with the year 1999 more than a decade in the rearview mirror.  Time really does fly.  My 20th high school reunion was 2 years ago!  My parents are both retired.  I don't get asked to show my identification when ordering a drink at a bar (not very often anyway).  Surprisingly I did end up getting a job, got married, and had a couple of kids.  And even more astoundingly, the nuclear holocaust didn't happen (yet) - stinkin' Nostradamus.

To celebrate my birthday, the wife and I are heading to California sans kids.  We'll spend a few days in San Francisco and then a few more in Sonoma.  The trip will revolve around eating and drinking (it's pretty ridiculous, but I think we already know where we'll be having each meal), with some sightseeing on the side and plenty of time by the fire pit.  A San Francisco Giants game is also on the docket, as well as zip-lining in the Redwoods (Note to self: check insurance policy before going on trip).  And because I'm not a kid anymore, we'll be going on a wine tour instead of bar-hopping (thankfully I don't expect anyone to buy me Dirty Old Shoe shots like on my 21st birthday).

The question often comes up whether or not you would do things the same way if you could go back and start over.  Would you want to go through childhood again?  Pick a different college or job?  Live in a different city/country?  I was discussing this with friends last weekend, and it sounded strange to say out loud, but deep down (subconsciously/innately?) I've always felt like I'll experience high school again, or be 25 again, or whatever age (and no, I'm not Buddhist).  It's difficult to explain.  Obviously it's not true, and now that I'm getting a bit older I guess it's starting to sink in.  Therefore I'm going to try to better appreciate my day-to-day existence from now on and enjoy the present.  Don't get me wrong, I've had a great life and don't regret where I've been or where I'm going.  In the words of Twin Cities rapper Brother Ali, "I'm the luckiest son of a bitch who ever lived."

With all that said, it's time to go to the Chevy dealer to check out the new 'Vettes...


I've always thought the "fill-to" lines on German beer glasses are cool.  Although I've never really understood their purpose, I do have a few theories:
  • They're used to ensure a precise pour every time.
  • They serve as an alert for uncoordinated/drunk bartenders to signal when to stop filling the glass to avoid pouring beer over the rim.
  • In order to become more profitable, German beer companies have conspired to make people think the glasses hold more beer than they actually do by mislabeling them, e.g. a 0.25 liter glass only contains 0.20 liters of beer.
I have a feeling the conspiracy theory is correct.  During my time in Germany and Belgium I managed to "collect" 15-20 of these glasses, and they somehow ended up in my suitcase.  One of these years when we finally have a finished basement, I plan to have my own bar and will use the glasses to confuse guests regarding the amount they're drinking.  Using this tactic I foresee myself coming out ahead when I visit their homes and they reciprocate my hospitality, i.e. more beer for me.

Op Uw Gezondheid!


Ted said...

I'm turning 40 later this year. I'm a complete denier of the fact. Let me know how it works out for you, and I'll see if I decide to acknowledge the milestone over here. Congrats on your birthday.

Eric said...

Now that almost two months have passed, I can say that 40 suits me just fine, Ted. Although I don't feel a day over 39. Good luck with your upcoming big day.

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