I Am Not Legend, I'm Just Thirty-Seven
As I write this, I am a part of a new group. No, not Iron Workers Union Local No. 7, or the Subway Sub Club, or the new rock superband Leary-Dokken-Casablancas, but a much broader one: The Late 30s. Not one to waste energy on matters I cannot control, I am not exactly kicking and screaming about my new membership, but I’m not digging it. When I made the move from 35 to 36, it was of no matter. My metabolism was perhaps a bit clumsier, and my knowledge of current slang was possibly more outdated, but I was essentially the same person.
But 37? Yeah, it’s different. I join a group that is officially getting close to the 40s, which I always consider the beginning of the worst decade. I mean no offense to anyone currently in their 40s, of course, nor do I mean to say that life ends at 40. In fact, once people reach their 50s, they live with a new lease on life, serving as the youngest of the old-half of humanity. They’ve graduated from their time-intensive family obligations, they have money to do awesome things, and they’ve got the energy and relative youth to be the stud or hottie at everything from Art class at the extension school to Zumba. People in their 40s? Basically the same as those in their 20s and 30s, just slower, fatter, and less cool. And I am now knocking on that dismal door.
It’s not all a wash, though. At 37 I feel wiser than I did in earlier years. I’ve got some chops when it comes to supporting my family and raising my kids. I’m progressing in my career. The writings that make up world literature and spirituality are not just stories anymore, but guides for what life is becoming.
And I feel closer to humanity. As I consider the theme, saints and sinners, I suppose I have a new view that it’s not becoming something great or noble that matters as much as the quest toward the right things. I can think of no one I’ve met who is so pure to qualify as a saint only or so horrible to qualify as a sinner only, and I’m at a point in my life where I have met a lot of people. Many live in perpetual frustration that they cannot reach their end goals, or they live in constant pessimism, seeing only the negative in their life and making those parts represent the whole. That’s how we trend: to go toward or move from the end of something, to achieve only by getting there. I believe more and more that it’s the paths we choose on this journey, and the ways we act upon the journey, that matter much more. In fact–this may be the only thing what matters. I’m not sure there really is an end place to reach, but we need that construct to move. We buy into an end-goal as a means to going toward something. This is better than being realistic about our life’s journey and sitting all day because of it.
So, late 30s, I join you freely and without too much complaint. Here’s to living a blend of sainthood and sinning, to trying harder to not get a belly, and to taking more time to enjoy, learn from, and evolve from the path we all trod along.