and now you’re even older!
In these sage words from They Might Be Giants, there is truth. I’m going to be 40 in a few weeks, and I’ve been thinking this year about age and aging and time and how it passes.
I’m not really too fussed about turning 40. It’s a nice milestone and it’s pretty difficult for me to believe that I have been kicking around for that many years, but I’m not upset about it or particularly bothered by it. Like a lot of things in life, it’s sort of weird, but it just is.
There are things that I don’t particularly care for, though, such as the fact that it means that everyone I care about is also older than I expect them to be, which means that we all have fewer years left than is particularly comforting to think about. I don’t want to live to be super-duper old – I’d rather not spend too much time struggling because my body and/or mind can’t keep up anymore – but that day better be way far off in the future (same goes for all those I care about).
When I look at myself, I realize that I have a lot more, as I like to think of it, silver hair than I used to. Again, I’m not particularly upset about this. It’s kind of like having highlights, and these days I’m too lazy to keep up with dying my hair with any regularity. But it does mean that I feel like I look my age more than I ever have before. I’ve pretty much always been told that I look younger than I am and it feels a little weird to think that this might not be true now. And of course, if anyone is going to judge me based on my silver hair, then screw them and their unreasonable beauty standards. I hope one of my silver hairs pokes them in the eye.
Mostly, approaching this age milestone is encouraging me to make the most of my time, since I’m theoretically approaching the point of having less of it left than I have already spent. I am always thinking, “I should write about that!” and then not making the time to do it, and I’m officially making a concerted effort to actually do it. I’m also hoping to be more resistant in the face of potential stress – I don’t HAVE to choose to give in and run myself ragged, just because it’s an option. Setting boundaries and making wise choices is the name of the game. Finally, I’m looking for opportunities to do good things, even (or especially!) small things. An awesome friend of mine started the Be Excellent Project and I’m super excited to share it here, so more people can get in on it.
Michelle’s husband Andy held Be Excellent To Each Other as his motto and lived his life with that at the core of everything he did. Michelle is now encouraging and inspiring us to do the same – to honor Andy’s memory but also because it is a thing we can do to make another person’s life better, even if in a small way, and those things matter. Working in a customer-service-based industry means that I go to work every day expecting to help others all day long, but how often do I consciously think about helping others when I’m out and about doing my own thing? The Be Excellent Project is helping me to remember to look for these opportunities, and I hope it will for you, too. Just seeing the things people having posted so far has been a great motivation. Plus, Bill and Ted! George Carlin! Time travel! Who could possibly resist?