I turned 40 on April 17. It’s customary for people to look back on their lives when they reach this milestone. To this end, I will contribute my two bits.
1. I have a paunch. I have had it for a couple of years, but turning 40 has made me relaxed about it. I can rid of it in a month with an exercise schedule suggested by Pinterest that doesn’t even require you to leave the house. So what if I am hefty, I can become lean again, can’t I?
2. My wardrobe is better. Looking back at my 20s, I realise that I used to dress flamboyantly and often made wrong choices in picking up clothes. Today, I am soberer and I know how to impress. I have become better at deciding what to wear when. So what if finding a store that stocks my sizes is becoming increasingly difficult? I am better turned out for a little extra effort. And, what’s more, I have nice shoes and am good at picking out the right socks.
3. I have a daughter. This one was a nightmare as I was determined to have a child before reaching 40. My daughter is five already. That’s five more than the age difference between my dad and I, but I happy about this aspect of my life. There are so many responsibilities that come with being a father and I think I have not fared so badly till now.
4. I think things through before I act. I am not as impulsive as I was in my teens. That may seem obvious, but taking the spur of the moment decisions and going along with the flow are qualities that I no longer have. I am a lot calmer and sit and decide on pros and cons of an issue before going ahead. I may be more of a disrupter and thinker than I ever was.
5. I get less angry. During my early 20s, I went through a phase when I was angry at everyone and everything. I rarely get angry with anyone, including my wife, these days. That helpless rage doesn’t attack me as often as it used to.
6. I am normal on social media. About a decade ago, when I first opened my account on Facebook, I was so over-enthusiastic about it, that I often made comments that embarrassed my friends. I even got into a fight my ex-girlfriend over a comment I left on her wall. Now, I am much, much more circumspect.
7. I am more sociable. I now know how to do small talk. I can flirt without offending the fairer sex. I can ask good questions and am adept at listening and responding warmly. I didn’t have all these qualities before but having had many years to become good at it, I can finally say these skills are now part of my repository.
8. I am careful about what I eat. I just don’t hog anything is that is available. I don’t risk eating in roadside shops that look like an invitation to cholera. I am not that broke anymore.
9. I drink less. Back in college, I used to imbibe on a regular basis. Now, drinking is for special and social occasions. I don’t ever wake up with a hangover anymore. And, I remember everything that happened the previous night.
10. I am saving money. I have a lot more to achieve, but I am slowly getting there. Getting a house of my own seems a more achievable thing than it ever was. I have learnt from making bad financial decisions in the past and am not likely to repeat them in the future.
11. My birthday is not a big deal anymore. I celebrated turning 40 by having a quiet dinner with my wife and sharing sweets with people I knew. I don’t think I want to blow candles anymore and that is alright by me. I am now used to wishing my daughter for her birthday. It is still a big deal for her.
12. Many in the earlier generations are dying. Just a month ago, my wife lost her grandmother. We are now in a phase where we are attending as many funerals as weddings. The funerals are almost a social gathering of the people who died have led full lives.
13. I have cholesterol. A regular check-up showed that my cholesterol was off the charts. But happily, I can now have fish, something I have always craved for. Given that my friends are going through many health problems, serious ones, I am grateful my issues are limited.
14. I know many divorcees. Many friends of mine have divorced, with a few of them even going on to remarry. I sincerely hope they have, at least now, found everlasting happiness in their partners. I guess I married late, but it sure looks like I am in a steady boat.
15. A bald head is forecast. I have already lost much hair. My forehead line is inching upwards surely and slowly. But that is just a ‘different’ look these days. I no longer worry about it. I know some people even find this attractive.
16. I am better informed. I am a journalist and that dreadful feeling you get when you have woken up late to a serious issue is not there as often as it used to be. I get most of my news on the go as do a lot of people. I can also talk about most issues in an informed way.
17. I have to acknowledge that I really can’t learn any new skills. Chances of that happening are slim. While I can play chess (I learned young), my ambition to be good at crosswords and quizzes will probably remain unfulfilled. So I have learned to be happy even if my learning curve has plateaued.
18. I don’t have to act wisely anymore. It can be reasonably assumed that I have acquired some wisdom and when young people look up to you, they may not be entirely wrong all the time.
19. Turning 40 need not bring about a midlife crisis. There is also a slim chance you might have already passed it. On the contrary, it may be years before you get one. Don’t get depressed thinking that 40 is a bad number for you.
20. There are limits to which you can push your body. For instance, I have had a neck ache for the last one week as I am sitting in front of the comp for far too long. I realise I should have had enough rest and you should be sure you do.