Last year, when I turned 40, I missed the memo that said turning 40 is really one of the last birthdays that feel… well… if not exactly FUN, at least interesting.
Because let me tell you, turning 41 is pretty dull.
The birthday itself is fine. After 41 of these suckers, there’s not much I need or want. Birthday presents are great, don’t get me wrong, but they are not really the focus of the day anymore.
When asked by my family what I wanted for my birthday, I came up with a few things. But what I really wanted was a simple, peaceful day with minimal fussing from my offspring. Oh, and I wanted a good pizza for dinner.
Yeah, I’m a cheap date.
Something has shifted, and birthdays feel more like a time for reflection, thoughtfulness and introspection. Kind of like New Year’s Day, I suppose. But with less emphasis on goals and more on taking stock.
I got to chat with my dad today, and I tried to explain to him how surreal it is to realize that I’m 41, the same age he was when we moved to the East Coast. He seemed so much older at that time to my 14-year-old self. Yet here I am, the same age, and I don’t feel… well… old enough to be 41. Which makes me think when I turn 68, as he did earlier this year, I’m not going to feel a whole lot different from the way I feel right now.
There’s another thing looming on the horizon, which is I’m four short years from being 45, my mother’s age when she died. And if I feel this way at 41, I strongly suspect not much is going to change in that short period of time. And I’m conscious of the fact that 45 years is not enough time.
It’s just not enough time.
I’m very aware of time and how quickly it slips away. My goals for myself are simple these days, and one of them is to simply live in the present. I want to give myself the gift of recognizing the importance of now. This moment. This time. This birthday.
Because one day, my time will be gone. And I want the gift of knowing that I gave it my best while I was here.
And that’s a present that’s hard to wrap.