I remember my father saying, “There are two kinds of people in this world son: The Haves and The Have Nots,” back when I was in high school. He usually followed it up with something like, “And you’re never going to be one of The Haves if you can’t do better than a C+ in Algebra. I never did do better than a C+ in Algebra in high school and, in fact, I frequently did a bit worse than that. But still…I can’t help but think that my high school math grades have fuck all to do with anything other than high school math. In college, I got all A’s in Algebra and I’m still poor as fuck so I’m pretty sure I’m right. Beyond the fact that I turn 40 tomorrow, I have no idea why that memory just came back to me.
I’m not really depressed about it, though most people my age think I’m lying when I say so. But there’s…something going on. I just have no idea what. When I turned 30, it was like getting out of jail, I was so happy. Granted, that had a lot to do with my 20’s sucking the shit out of The Devil’s ass – with a straw – but still, it was a good time, and the all-day drink-a-thon with my friends lingers as one of my fondest memories. And, come to think of it, maybe what’s been nagging at me the last week or so is the fact that my 30’s have been non-stop awesome (if you don’t count all the loved ones dying), and I just don’t want it to end. Which, of course, is stupid. I think I just spared myself a couple hundred bucks worth of therapy (which would be the main reason this site exists).
Also, turning 40 has brought with it all the usual introspection and personal inventory bullshit that comes with each major birthday. When I turned 30, the one thought that wouldn’t go away was, “What the hell did I do with my 20’s?” The answer, of course, was, “Not much.” I’d spent an entire decade in one long succession of coffee houses, bars, and late-night diners. And (despite my internal misery) it was fucking awesome, I loved every minute of it. But if you’re looking for actual accomplishments, there are better ways to spend your time, and so I vowed that I wouldn’t be able to wonder the same thing when I turned 40. And I can’t, so that’s something.
So now, at the close of my fourth decade, the thought that won’t leave my head is, “Why is it, after 23 years in the workforce, am I still dicking around working for other people?” The answer – and anyone who’s ever worked for themselves knows this to be true – is because being your own boss is a colossal pain in the ass. Especially if you have employees. On the flip side, however, you tend not to hate the douche-nozzle you work for. Besides, anything worth doing is usually a pain in the ass. I really hope I’m not still asking myself this question when I turn 50.
One of the things that will be awesome about my 40’s: Watching the small army of nieces and nephews grow up. I especially can’t wait for them all to get to high school age so I can share some of my profound wisdom with them (“There’s two kinds of people in this world, kid: Those who unnecessarily categorize people by saddling them with impossibly simple labels that have no real-world meaning…and those who don’t. And you’ll never get to label people by getting a C+ in…”).