I had a really good talk with the Professor last night about how I’m not exactly bummed or anything about turning 40. I mostly just, if I’m being honest, feel confused by it. Like, oh, okay, so nothing’s going to happen? And the Professor has this theory that we don’t really have realistic role models for how not to be like our parents, because, growing up, we saw our parents and their friends and then, anyone who wasn’t living like that was on TV, somehow changing the world. But here we are, 40, and maybe we don’t want to change the world or we realize that our ability to effect change is really limited, but we still don’t want lives like our parents’ so we have to figure out what it is we want from life instead.
I also was able to talk through with her my feelings of guilt and discomfort with the fact that I live so decadently. Like I do really have this internalized idea that there’s something shameful about deciding to just go ahead and be weird. And yet, what else can I do? I want to be happy and this is what makes me happy. So, I just have to keep on acknowledging that small voice and then ignoring it.
On my way home today, though, when I lamented to the Butcher my fear that I’ll never get a book contract, he told me to shut up because I’d already made more from my art in my lifetime than Van Gogh had made in his, so what more did I fucking want? Which made me laugh.
Does it feel like the two things might be connected? Like feeling that just going ahead and being weird is decadent is somehow connected to not being sure how you feel about turning 40?
Because that would totally make sense to me. It seems to me like our 40’s are a period of life when we’re supposed to be very well put together pretty conventional adults. If you’re weird in your 30’s your colorful and interesting. If you’re weird in your 50’s you’re badass.
I dealt with it by deciding to just be a whole lot more conventional on a few things that I just plain don’t care about that much right now. It seems to work.