This is 40.
This morning when Jane and I pulled up to her bus stop, one of the neighborhood kids ran over to me. “Jimmy’s gone! Jimmy’s gone!” After interrogating the poor kid—“HE ISN’T IN MY HOUSE?!?!” as if somehow the second grader next door would know this—I learned they saw Jimmy running around the neighborhood maybe 15 minutes earlier. I left Jane at the bus stop, drove back up the hill screaming Jimmy’s name, flew into the house to get Greg, my flip-flops, and a box of bones, and started racing down the street on foot, screaming Jimmy’s name like a lunatic, shaking the box of bones, until finally the little douche comes joyfully running up the street as if he has done something good or right EVER. So I get him in the house, get back to the bus stop to assure Jane all is well, go back home to get my regular shoes on again, and go to work.
Did I mention today is my birthday? Hi, I’m Amanda. I’m 40, and my life is ridiculous.
Rolling into a new decade is a big deal, and 40 feels particularly big. When I was a kid, 40 was the birthday they rolled out the “over the hill” decorations for, but now that a lot of adults seem to be in a state of suspended adolescence, it doesn’t seem to have that same association quite as much. Or maybe it just depends on the day. Or the person.
But personally, it feels big. I love the fresh-start feeling of a new year, both on January 1 and September 23. And a new decade feels even fresher and newer and clean slate-ier (although, yes, several people have reminded me I am actually beginning my 41st year—but it’s a new decade on paper, anyway). Before moving forward, however, let’s take a quick look back.
When I turned 30, I lived in an apartment with my friend Shawn. I was almost three years into working at the theater I ended up working at for 11 years. Greg and I were still just dating. Junior was only a few weeks old. I was doing a TON of theater.
Since then, I’ve gotten married, moved, done some travel, got another dog, had a not-fun pregnancy, had that kid of mine, got a boat, switched jobs twice, went from working full-time to part-time to full-time again, and did a ton more theater. And a whole bunch of other stuff—but those are the major bullet points.
My thirties were busy, is what I’m saying. You know, like your 30s, and everyone’s 30s. It’s a busy-ass, life-changing decade. For me, becoming a parent was the biggest game-changer of all, because that changed everything about how I approached my free time (in that my free time is now very rarely mine). This in no way means that Jane is not every single thing to me – I think it’s pretty clear that she is and always will be—all I’m saying is, I am now a professional children’s birthday party-goer, whereas before that I was not.
And here we are. Forty. FORTY. I think I had a little mental midlife crisis about a year ago—I was most assuredly NOT HAPPY about this change. But now? I am so all good with it. And here’s why. I have a new motto for my 40s, and this is it:
Seriously—why not? I want to try new things and do new things and generally kick the shit out of the next 10 years. I want to have a ridiculous amount of fun and do a ridiculous amount of creative work—including more theater (of course) and more writing (here on this blog—you’re welcome, Lisa) and see more movies and read more books and go to more shows and listen to more music and fill my brain with all of the artistic and creative goodness out there that I can take. I want us to watch Jane grow up to be an independent, smart and self-confident teenager, I want to finally kick my bad habit of trashing myself, I want…….a lot. I want a lot. And I am going to make it happen.
Because why not?