The Rest of the Way, Part Five: Age Is More Than a Number

I just turned forty-seven this month so for the next year my age will be a prime number. It wasn’t so bad because I get free stuff now on my birthday because of app on my phone (Starbucks and Taco Cabana). Personally, I’m looking forward to turning fifty when I can officially start getting my senior discount and my AARP card.

Yes, I’m looking forward to getting older. I know this flies in the face of the conventional-asshole wisdom of this world but here’s why:

One: senior discount. Yes, I look forward to becoming an old cheapskate though I promise with all my heart and soul never to turn into a raging Karen.

Two: Why not celebrate making it a few more years on this planet? Between pandemics, environmental catastrophe, and conservative politics, it’s a real battle these days to survive in this world. At least I’m past childbearing age so my uterus is off-limits to Republican legislators.

On the last seven birthdays I’ve had, I’ve grown contemplative and I look back and on each birthday I realized the following:

At forty, I realized I wasn’t such an idiot and that I was pretty good at taking care of myself.

At forty-one, I realized everyone else was just as full of shit as I was sometimes but I wasn’t a bad person either.

At forty-two, I was the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything for one year and said so long to my last call-center job.

At forty-three, I realized I liked gig work but that I was also sliding into a pretty deep abyss, too.

At forty-four, I didn’t release a smash-hit record like Tina Turner did at the same age but I knew I wanted to release a book someday that may sell a few copies.

At forty-five, I realized I had a pretty big storage unit in my mind full of crap to go through once and for all.

At forty-six, I cast the most important votes in my life in an election that came to matter more than any election ever had.

And at forty-seven I realized I have the advice I’ve been looking for and now I just need to really start taking it. And I’ve also begun to realize I’ve earned my hermit badge, too and that’s okay.

For me, age is a double-edge sword because on one hand I’ve always felt older than I was on the calendar because I had a lot of responsibility dumped on me at an early age. And on the other hand, I felt like I was treated like a kid who barely knew how to tie her own shoes by being told not to do this or that for some dumb-ass reason. So it was like grow up but you’ll never be seen as a grown-up.

But the thing I’ve learned most as I crossed the threshold into middle-age is that all those fucks I gave I shouldn’t have given out in the first place. Because they were disproportionally given to people who didn’t deserve them, or acted like ungrateful shits and were never satisfied with what you did give them. And because of that, I’ve realized I wasn’t put on this earth to work, suffer in silence, then die for some asshole.

Most of all, I’m not afraid of death. It’s coming whether I like it or not though I don’t know when or how and I’m not going to waste time thinking about that. I’m also not going to waste time thinking about what I didn’t do before because I’m not a time-traveler and I don’t have the ability to go back and change things. My goal now is to live in the present after having sorted out a ton of past crap and put all that past crap to bed in my writing.

My advice here then is this: don’t let your age stop you from doing something. Especially if you’re over forty because if you’re over forty or even past fifty, you’ve run out of fucks to give and you don’t get a refill on those. And enjoy your senior discounts.

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