Thursday, August 2, 2012

Big 4-0? Ain't Nuthin But a G' Thang (sort of)

Back in 2005, my wife-to-be announced that she was pregnant with our daughter.

During the 10 seconds following her not-so-shocking announcement, I didn't think about the wonder of life that was growing inside her belly. Nor did I think about getting a normal job or even visiting to purchase the most-recent publication of  What to Expect When You're Expecting.

Nope. Instead, I played the 'Add 20' game.

I immediately added 20 years to my life in order to see how old I was going to be when my children would be out of the house.

I know. I know. This may sound terrible and a bit selfish. Many will say that I'm 'totally missing the point of having a kid completely', which I'll 100% agree.

But I digress. The 'Add 20' game had me at about 55 years old. Not too shabby. It's old enough to be able to start stock-piling money for my eventual retirement at age 90. And it's young enough to start scratching things off of my bucket list.

Which leads me to my birthday. On July 6, I was fortunate enough to reach the young age of 40.

I'm nut sure what the hub-bub is all about. Turning 40 is really, truly no big deal. Well, a little I guess.

Minus some slight lower back pain, some doctors would say that I'm better shape than I was at 21. And I'll tend to agree. I've cut down on my drinking. I exercise almost every single day. I drink V8, homemade fruit smoothies and wheat grass every other day. I watch my sodium, I eat more vegetables and fruits. And, surprisingly, I'm slowly but surely retiring a number of fast food joints from my list-including my most recent retirement, Chick-Fil-A.

Back in the day (circa 1920) 40 was a point in your life that you simply shrugged off and continued working until you basically dropped at the ripe, old age of 57 years old (if you were fortunate enough to be a white male).

Now, in 2012, this ceremonial birthday serves as a crossroad, a halfway point of one's life. A time to ruminate about everything that you've achieved. Graduation from Ohio State, two marathons, marriage, two healthy kids, a self-published novella of mediocre short horror stories and a cartoon published in Hustler come to mind.

It's also a time to put the remainder of this crazy thing called life in perspective and think about where you want to be as you travel down this old, dusty (and bumpy) road...

...and to play the 'Plus 20' game yet again. But this time for real.

I've written in the past about the number of vacations that I, probably, have left in my lifetime. Well, in addition to the 'Plus 60' clock and the 'Vacation' clock, I've also added the 'Countdown to 60' clock.

Deep in the caverns of my mind and soul, which I probably won't share with the world right now until they come to fruition, I've laid out a number of personal challenges to myself. Things that I would like to see come to fruition before I turn 60 (or Plus 20, as I like to say this year).

These challenges are personal goals and dreams. Some are modest (To be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for some sort of achievement). Some are selfish (To be interviewed by Howard Stern for some sort of achievement). Some of these goals are for the good of my family (pay off our house, pay for my kid's college). And some of these ideas have to do with seeing a little bit more of the world before my knees go out, my liver goes kaput and I'm stuck in some god-for-saken rest home staring out the window wondering where the hell my life went.

You know, those type of goals.

However, as it turns out, one of those 'Plus 20' goals will come to fruition in two days.

As I've recently wrote about in various posts, I'm an avid hiker. Having scrambled most of the Applachian Trail in Virginia as well as some parts of Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Jersey - I've always wanted to visit one of the wildest, craziest parts of the Appalachian Trail...The White Mountains. It's a place I've always yearned to venture, but never had the funds to achieve.

Tuesday, Aug. 7, I will fly out to New Hampshire to hike Mount Washington via the Appalachian Trail on a three-day trek from Crawford Notch to Pinkham Notch. Also, we (myself and a couple of my fellow kick-ass hiker buddies) will also hit the Franconia Notch Trail - a 8.5 loop that is supposed to also kick ass. We'll see.

This trip will mark one of the many exciting things that I have planned for myself and my family over the next 20 years, which includes traveling, writing, running, publishing, drawing and fixing up my home.

Ironically, 'Work more hours' isn't on this list. However, 'Innovative ways to make more money' is.

You know, some people say that 'Age is a State of Mind'. After turning 40, I totally agree.

I mean, I still feel like that snot-nosed kid who bought his first 12-pack of Natural Light at a 7-Eleven in Wheeling when he was 17 years old. And hell yeah it was with a fake ID that I made myself.

Hmmm? Yet another achievement to ruminate upon during this exciting year.


Anonymous said...

Brad, is Renna turning 17 already? Yipes...

"Back in 1995, my wife-to-be announced that she was pregnant with our daughter."

Your Finest Eimer said...

Nice catch, Anonymous. I meant 2005. Big difference, eh?