The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 August 2004

Fear strikes out

People, usually well-meaning, will tell you to your face "it's just a number," but every time the Odometer of Life rolls over another digit I feel something of a twinge. (Heaven help us all when it rolls over two digits at once.)

Still, once you've done enough of these, the presumed panic eventually gives way to — a sort of contentment? Michele has calculated that the answer can be 42:

Let's take stock of things here, to give this questionable fear of 42 some context: I love my life. I really like my job and all the people I work with. The thought that I'll be there the rest of my working days does not depress me at all. We just became first time homeowners. In short time, I will be a business owner. My marriage is great. My kids are wonderful. My entire immediate family is healthy. Sure, money is tight, but I've already accepted that will always be the case. I already have everything I need and most things I want. I have wonderful friends. I'm satisfied with what I have done with my life and what I'm doing now. The future looks good.

There's a lower incidence of rose colors in my own spectrum, but this is what I wrote at the moment of fiftyness:

For roughly twenty years, I've been more or less content to go with the flow, to let the chips fall, to pile up the clichés. Something — I'm not sure what — has set up a diversion. Something has changed. And perhaps that's my task for the next five years: to figure out exactly what that something may be.

So I have to clean yet another house, sort through the emotions, the neuroses, the random thoughts, find out what's worth keeping and what can be tossed. It's a scary proposition, to say the least. Yet somehow, I'm not particularly scared.

And maybe, just maybe, that's what's changed. Fear may do you some good when you're younger; at fifty, it's just one more thing that gets in the way.

In retrospect, the fears I had didn't do me much good at all, but it took me entirely too long to start clearing them out.

And actually, forty-two is quite a nice age: still young enough to care about things, but old enough to know when not to give a damn. I have a feeling Michele's going to like it. A lot.

Posted at 7:35 AM to Almost Yogurt

I need to work on the "not giving a damn" part. But I do believe you're right.

Posted by: michele at 7:38 AM on 20 August 2004

I'm closer to 43 than to 42 now, but for the time being I put my age in perspective by thinking of it as "six times nine."

Which inevitably leads either to "Don't Panic" or Vogon poetry.

Posted by: McGehee at 12:44 PM on 20 August 2004

Yeah, that base-13 math does have its tricky aspects.

Posted by: CGHill at 1:02 PM on 20 August 2004

You're right; for whatever reason, 42 is (was) a great age. Close to the 30's yet out of that 30-something mentality.

I never thought about it until you brought it up. Maybe because my impending rollover, for whatever reason, has been bothering the living hell out of me.

Maybe, since time has been rushing by faster than Lauren smashing into that SUV, it's because I can distinctly remember reading not that long ago stories in newspapers where ages of people would be given (ages which coincide with mine now) and I'd be thinking, "Holy SHIT she's old!"

Posted by: Vickie at 7:54 PM on 20 August 2004

be 42 in a few days... still loving it, it's better than the alternative.

Posted by: Dobie at 7:04 PM on 23 August 2004