All My Friends Are Turning 40
Growing Up Doesn’t Mean Growing Old
I’ve just turned 40. There I said it out loud. The idea of turning “middle aged” has terrified me for a long time. You remember the scene in Harry Enfield when Kevin turns 13 and immediately turns from a polite young lad in to a monosyllabic stroppy teenager?
I imagined turning 40 to be the same, except I would wake up with an overwhelming urge to start buying my jeans from Marks and Spencer, watching Top Gear, or worse still agreeing with Clarkson and hating immigrants, drinking Real Ale and generally being a moaning bastard. There is no escape I am now a proper Grown Up.
Being a summer baby meant I was one of the youngest in my school year, so for the last few months Facebook has happily been informing on an almost daily basis of other people’s decay. There was a sea of “old” jokes and Birthday wishes there to take the p*ss out of it.
Then it came to my turn. It couldn’t be more different. I mean growing up doesn’t mean growing old in the old sense of the word does it?. I realised that I’m actually happier and more confident that I think I have ever been. I feel settled, I have an amazing wife and lovely son, a career doing something I love and am surrounded by a great group of friends that actually seem to like some of my jokes.
What’s more I realised the insecurities have gone, I am happy with who I am and what I have going on. Sure I have started groaning when I stand up, become less tolerant of idiots and kids on the bus who play loud sh*ty music through their phones (At least when I was 14 we’d carry around a huge great beatbox playing family friendly ditties like “F”ck the Police” by NWA rather than auto-tuned rubbish).
From a Nice Cuppa to Tequila Slammers and Back Again.
Things like wanting to make sure I am not out too late on the occasional night out and preferring a nice cuppa to a Tequila slammer are ok with me these days. Yes I would still love to get my hair looking half as cool as Paul Wellers. But that ain’t gonna happen. I have now come to terms with it and seeing that most of my mates are going bald, I’m bloody glad I still have some.
But getting older I appreciate things more. I appreciate the gifts that I have been given in the shape of a decent work/life balance and having laid down some roots, I feel settled; more settled than I’ve done in years.
The music still sounds great and I still have the urge to drop the odd sneaky tag. But having the opportunity to share the lessons I’ve learnt, teaching and watching my son how to grow, explore and craft himself into a confident inquisitive cheeky soul is a much better buzz than the raving drugs, wasting weekends by waking up with regrets and a hole in my pocket where my pay cheque used to be..
On my Birthday I celebrated turning 40 in style with a weeks worth of treats including a Canal Boat trip through Little Venice on the way to see the monkeys at London Zoo (By far the best way to travel in London).
Celebrating with my nearest and dearest with a lovely picnic at Splashpoint and getting this cake.
Watching the new Inbetweeners movies at the superb Connaught Theatre (A proper cinema, none of that mutli-plex rubbish)- Then I went drinking in Brighton, ending the night at a Launch party full of old hip-hop mates that I hadn’t seen in years.
What I know clearly see is that turning 40 was nothing to be scared of at all. I am still the same person, I just think clearer and understand that appreciating the things I have around me in terms of family are more important that the ability to go stay up all night raving.
So there it is, I said 40 is the new 30 – Middle aged is the New Black. My drug of choice is PG Tips. I say it once, I say it loud – I’m 40 and I’m Proud.
How did you find turning 40?