So This is Forty


I’ve been writing a lot about age lately. Thinking about it. Putting effort into staying healthy, young, energetic. Mostly, young. After all I live in a country in which age is a plague that we try to inject away and fight tooth and nail. Where old people seem to make younger people angry, simply because we know it’s our future. Well, if they're lucky enough not to get struck down early by a heart attack or cancer or maybe an overdose that happened because we were trying to numb ourselves to the fact that we, too will get OLD.

I just read this essay (that a lovely, intelligent, non-crazy friend/colleague shared on Facebook) on being over 40 that, like this other piece* that inspired my previous post, on cutting ties that may or may not be written by Meryl Streep (see below), that I was reaaaallly pissed I didn’t write myself. Sometimes another writer just nails it like you only wish you could.

*I fucking love this:

 “I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.

I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” – Maybe or maybe not by Meryl Streep         

It’s about how, once you hit this god-forsaken age, shit really does change. It’s not about bullshit like gray hairs and joint pain, but real shit. About how your mind changes about yourself and about people around you and you don’t have time or make time to put up with bullshit anymore and it’s so goddamn liberating. Of course, as is my point, they say it a lot more eloquently than I do.

Here it is (and no I’m not jelly) at all that the bitch writes for the New York Times):

I don’t think it happens to everyone; just the lucky ones. Some are damned to a life of bitterness, insecurity and insanity due to aging. But for some of us, getting older is actually kinda cool. We actually do take our shitty decisions, bad ideas and dramatic problems and see a flip side. We ditch bad relationships (why do you think there are so many divorces at around 40?). Learn from them. Y’know, we kinda grow up. But not all the way. Just enough to play nice with the parents at PTO meetings and to behave through a school Christmas play in which our child didn’t but should have gotten a speaking role. To sit at parent teacher meetings and act like we know what the fuck the Benchmark is. To goto fund raisers and not be incredulous that someone bid $10k on a wine dinner for 4, just so their kids get shooed into the private school. To sit with “colleagues” and use words like “productivity.” To use restraint at weddings with an open bar...

Maybe we’ve been pretending this kind of stuff since our 20s but now that we’re older and wiser, people actually buy it.  Sometimes it’s just plain funny that they do. We’re so old now that we can fool just about anyone, so there’s the upside, if you’re into that kinda thing. 

But the thing is, everyone else is just winging it too.