On 40 and winging it

Birthday cake

I recently turned 40 and like any good narcissistic Gen x-er I feel as though all the world is turning 40 with me. Every where I turn there are books, op-eds, blog posts, TV shows and films about this wondrous new chapter in life. It’s like we invented it. Which makes sense if you consider that our parents perfected the mid-life crisis, so maybe we can lay claim to the anti-crisis. Most days, I feel so terribly stable and (almost) happy, but there is also an overwhelming sense of relief that I can’t seem to shake. I suspect the following revelation has a little something to do with it.

“There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.” – Pamela Druckerman

EVERYONE IS WINGING IT. Truth bomb if there ever was one.

This link to Druckerman’s delightful New York Times opinion piece via Whoorl could not be more spot on. Part of me wishes I had understood that passage in my 20s – when I was mastering the art of self-hatred and comparison. But something tells me some lessons simply aren’t learnable until you’ve lived a little.

I’m so thrilled to be here, at this stage in life. I remember at 18 thinking that I probably wouldn’t live to be 40. Which sounds pretty morbid as I type it, but it’s true. I had no vision for anything past my mid-20s and just couldn’t really imagine any path to grown-uphood. And now I realize there is no path. We’re all just winging it – together.

So, I’m keeping a few things I loved from childhood, like my collection of porcelain figurines that graced my birthday cakes and ditching the crap that never worked in the first place. Broken assumptions that everyone else had it figured out and I would never quite catch up. Here’s to finally getting it. Happy day, my loves.

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