Sunday, December 28, 2014

Oh. My. God. So you're (nearing) 40. Let me hand you a tissue...

The year I turned 5 in May, I started Kindergarten that September. Because I could read and write and do math and all sorts of crazy skills which, at the time, were inconceivable for a 5 year old to be able to do before entering school. In October, they started my progress to skip me. I did the mornings in Grade 1 and the afternoons in Kindergarten. By January, I was out of Kindergarten entirely.

And as such, I was always the youngest kid in my grade.

So for most of my life, my friends have been older than me. Maybe it’s only been a year or two, but when you’re in elementary school, a year might as well be a decade.

Then, when I was at university, I was hanging with people my own age who were in the year behind me. That was strange. It was almost as if I was hanging with a completely different generation for the first while. Because they had changed the Ontario school curriculum for children born after 1970. And since I had been lumped in with those kids born in 1969, I was literally from the old school curriculum. I was the last of the real Grade 13s and the first of the OACs. Which I don’t even think exist anymore, but that’s for another rant.

In May 2015, I will be 45 years old.

I’ve made a lot of friends along the way over the past 40 years. And now I look at the smattering of them across my social media networks. Friends who run the gamut from ages 15 – 65. A year or two make no differences anymore. Heck, sometimes the kids who are 17 are more mature than the 50 year olds.

But why I’m ranting today is that, recently, there has been a lot popping up on my timelines about “what it means to be 40” these days. As if there were some age crossing barrier, like the ones they have at railway tracks, saying “Now that you’re 40, you are like X instead of Y. You know the truth. You’re smarter than everyone else.” And all the other bullshit that the same articles told us when we were 30 and will tell us again when we’re 50.

Why do we need these fucking reassurances? So that we can feel better than other people? Feel superior to those not in our age group? Hang on to youth? Forget that we are halfway to shuffling off this mortal coil?

All of these “feel good because you’re 40” articles are pissing me off. I felt good before you told me to feel good, and now your article is making me feel bad. “There are no soul mates.” “There is no God.” “You do know better than your peers.”

You wanna know what the big deal is about turning 40? It’s the same big deal as turning 10, 20, 30, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, or 100. There’s a zero at the end of your age. So everyone can now calculate the exact year when you were born without too much thinking. Like the metric system. You’re a metric age because you’re a multiple of 10. Woo hoo. Go have a Litre of something to drink and 500 grams of cake.

Do you know better than other people? Well, isn’t it nice to feel superior? If you do know better than other people, then you don’t need to rub it in their faces. You don’t need to be patronizing. If you know better, you let people learn their own lessons, including your children. Once kids pass the age where they realize if they touch the hot stove, they will burn their fingers, you get to stand back and let them learn on their own.

But really, you don’t know better than anyone else except your younger self. And if you have to tell yourself you do, you’re as much of an asshole as those people you call assholes for putting you in your place, myself included.

Do you have a soul mate? Do you have 50 soul mates? Well good for you. Do you know what it means to have a soul mate? Because soul mate, like BFF, and to an extent, friend, is a term that’s become superficial and sorority-ized. It means nothing. 

If you have a soul mate, or a best friend, or you love someone, you don’t have to fucking declare it or anything like it on your social media timelines or anywhere else. If you are in a successful relationship, you don’t need to tell people about it. You and your partner and your families know. Your friends already know. People who have to continually brag about what they have are usually trying to avoid seeing the cracks in the foundation, or are hiding the underlying problems that will tear them apart shortly.  

If you’re over 40, you know who your friends are. You know what love is. And you’ve probably been devastated by one or both of those things. If you haven’t, well, good for you. Maybe you should try to live a little more deeply. And if you have been devastated, hopefully you’re not sitting around wallowing in your pain. Because that’s just as bad as surrounding yourself with non-friends. You know, those people who, at the first sign of trouble, will send you an OMG HUGZ text and then not bother to follow up with you to see if you’re actually okay.

You know what? Shit happens. You get hurt. Let yourself get hurt again. And again. And again. Because why? Because it means that you’re alive. Dead people feel no pain. And to feel no pain means you can’t feel joy. What the fuck makes you so fucking great that you refuse to feel joy and happiness? That’s what happens when you say “I don’t want to be hurt anymore.” That means you don’t want to be happy, either. And if you don’t want to be happy, that’s your business, but don’t make my life miserable by bitching about how it’s awful being single and alone. Your life is as awful or as wonderful as you make it for yourself, not by how much shit you make other people carry for you. If you need to be in a coven of complainers to make your life wonderful, please stay the fuck away from everyone I know. Complaining about the same thing over and over again is a waste of fucking energy. Just like those fucking empowerment articles.

About that there is no God thing. Of course there’s a God. Now, in the sense of big dude sitting on a cloud in the sky looking down casting fire and damnation and granting favours to those who worship him only…no. You're mistaking God with bank executives. 

You know that expression “The Lord helps those who help themselves?” Well, look agnostics and atheists, that’s basically confirming what you believe. You have a positive outlook on life, you try your best, you try to summon some good energy from the universe in a Tesla-like manner to gather good karma and positive energy for those you care about - never just take the energy for yourself, you selfish bastard. “Do unto others as you shall have them do unto you,” or, as we taught our non-religious child, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” So if you want good energy, and good stuff to happen to you, then make sure you send out good energy to others. When you pray for someone to get better, you are sending that person good energy, and since we are all interconnected, they get that energy, and you will get a metric fuck ton of it back. That energy is God. If you need to visualize some blonde or black or purple or yellow or red dude who looks like a hipster or a prince or a chubby laughing bald dude to focus your good energy to, you do what you have to do. There is no correct or incorrect way to believe in the goodness of the planet and send good energy to others.

Don’t believe me? Look at kids playing. Just look at them. When they’re young. Before the video games and their parents and their grandparents and the world tells them that they can’t play with that kid because he’s wearing a turban or that kid because she’s got a wheelchair or that kid because he smells…look at kids. Kids love everyone and everything and have no fucking fear or negative energy whatsoever.

“Children are God. Listen to them.”

Why in the fuck do we grow up?

Wanna know what I learned from being over 40? That I know absolutely fucking NOTHING. That everything I needed to know about life, I knew before I was 5, and that stupid school got a hold of me. Before my parents messed me up by telling me that good grades would make me a good person. Before boys messed me up by telling me if I put out they’d love me forever. Before fucking social media came along and gave everyone a false sense of entitlement and empowerment.

Do I have a soul mate? Do I have 100 soul mates? Do I need a soul mate? Well, look, I’m not going to lie. It would be the best thing in the world to have a companion who would be willing to go through this crazy mess that I call my life with me. Someone who understands that they will never be the most important person in my universe, because that is my son, who already has two parents. Someone who values their space as much as I do. Someone who is ranty like me, and who understands that an argument is just an argument. It’s not about hate, or being superior to another’s intellect. No two people are the same, not even identical twins. Someone who would respect my uniqueness, my need to squirrel myself away at times, who would be as pleased to go see La Boheme as they would to see Ministry or Jackie Greene or James Rhodes, and who could understand why there are times when I just want to hear nothing. Someone who can show me all of the things that I might miss, and why those things might just be the most beautiful things on earth.  And someone who can match my libido and then some, in every way possible, who knows it’s not about size or acrobatics or apparatuses. It’s about all the things that can go wrong and do go wrong and making sure there are at least 3 hurricane mops on standby.

Can I find all those complementary things in one person? Other than myself? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I know people like this already. Maybe I don’t. But I won’t shut out the possibility that this person, yes, just one, is out there.

I have wonderful friends, and I hope that they know how much they mean to me. I try to tell and show them as often as I can. Sometimes I know I’m not as good as I would like to be, but I keep sending the good energy out to them. Faith is what keeps us alive, keeps our spirits moving, keeps us doing what we do. But each of my friends has a soul mate. Whether or not they’re partnered up.  

After this big long rant, the point is this…

If you’re near 40 or just crossed the barrier, and you need to post this reassuring bullshit to make yourself feel better, fine. But don’t lump me into your group of “Oh yes, that’s what being 40 is about.” When I was 5 I didn’t fit into the Kindergarten ideal, and I’m sure as fuck not going to start now.

Besides, you know nothing. Wait til you’re 45. You’ll see what I mean. 

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