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Tag archive for: getting old

In Praise of My Eyebrows

I’m turning 40 soon. Let’s not discuss how soon. It’s a “big” birthday, the official gateway to “over the hill” or, alternately, “the new 18,” depending on whether the person uttering it is under 40 and smug or over 40 and in serious denial.
It’s also a birthday that inspires people to inquire about my mental state. “Wow, 40, huh? How ya feeling about that? You okay with it?”
I can’t say I’m okay with it, no. I don’t relish diving into the very age pool in which my own parents swam when I was in college; I understood then that they were old and I understand now that I am not old, so the logic of the situation makes me woozy. And one should never go swimming when one is woozy.
I’m not thrilled to relinquish my chance at being featured in the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” issue or even Fortune’s half-as-discerning “40 Under 40.” Anything accomplished before 40, it seems, is miraculous; after 40, it’s about damn time and what took you so long?
Decade-cap birthdays are like utilitarian rest stops on a far-reaching span of highway; you stop obligingly, stretch, pee, and have a look around whether you feel the urge or not. Reflexively, unenthusiastically, you take meticulous stock of your life, inventorying recent gains and losses in the professional, domestic, and — gulp — corporal arenas.
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