My four year-old son, The Attitude, apparently just started a new stage in life. For the last few nights, he’s been slow to get to sleep and has been waking up tearfully in the middle of the night.
Kind of reminds me of my twenties, but let’s not go there.
In my son’s case, I’m afraid it’s worse than a few questionable late night decisions. The poor kid is seeing bugs all around him.
I mean, he’s not really seeing bugs, thank goodness. But unfortunately, there’s just no convincing him that his room is clean and bug free. Even when we turn the lights on and show him it’s just a trick of his eyes in the dark, his 4 year-old brain will not be assuaged.
There are bugs. In his room. At night. Flying around. He is certain.
Luckily, the Puddinette and I have been down this road before. Princess Puddinette, when she was about the same age (it must be a development thing), was convinced there were “itchy bugs” living in her room. Never you mind that she wasn’t plagued with bouts of regular itchiness. She had a horde of the buggers, nonetheless. Luckily, a nightly application of special “itchy bug” spray (which, incidentally, looked and smelled remarkably like air freshener) usually helped calm her concern until she fell asleep.
The same technique worked for The Attitude last night. I’m guessing he’s about to have the Mountain Breeze-smellingest room in the house for the next few weeks.
Unfortunately, I think I’ve been seeing the bugs too. Metaphorically, that is.
Today (as you likely know since I haven’t shut up about it a week) is my 40th birthday. What you probably don’t know is that I’ve given this one a lot more significance than any other I’ve ever had, more processing cycles from the ole thinker. Hell, I even referenced it in last year’s birthday post.
So, yeah, I’ve been thinking about this “turning 40″ thing for a while now. As in, “Oh, lawdy, when I turn forty, I’m gonna be all old, decrepit and ruined, like a bad pear. So I best have my hopes and dreams on all the right tracks before then.”
But you know what? Sure, I might have some of those hopes on dreams on the right respective tracks, in general, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve been full of both myself and it (you know, the proverbial “it”) this whole forty-fretting time.
Forty, schmorty. It’s just invisible bugs.
What I said in the past is right: no matter what the calendar says, I’m exactly one day older than I was yesterday. I no more shuffled over to the “old” side of the room with the passing of the last 24 hours than I suddenly became “wise” or set in my path in life because my age now starts with the number 4.
Which means that when I wrote last week that by 40 “you should probably have most of your shit together” I was talking the crazy talk. Or, well, at least a type of the crazy talk. Not like the “I dressed up in Aunt Edna’s wig and muumuu, covered myself in guacamole, and then went to the desert to commune with the spirit of the Great Chameleon” level crazy talk, but you know what I mean.
The point is, my shit is not together. Not yet, anyway. I haven’t reached my goals yet, and even when I do, there will be more goals to follow. The path is long and winding, and the idea that when you reach 40 you’re life is suddenly trapped on a high-speed expressway to point unknown with no off-ramps is as much nonsense as saying that Buffalo wings are somehow improved with ranch dressing* or that vampires ought to be sparkly**
Screw you, 40. You’re nothing more than the bugs, a mere trick of the eye. I see you for what you are and I ain’t scared.
So I’m not going to stand around, swatting at you like you mean something. In case you didn’t know, I’ve got a half marathon to run.
I encourage you to try and keep up. I won’t be waiting.
PS: If anyone wants to know what to get me for my birthday, I’m pretty much past wanting stuff anymore. It just clutters up the house (but that’s a different post). I would really like a literary agent that loves my writing, though. Anyone that gets me one of those is welcome to share in the bottle of single barrel bourbon I just got.***
*Sure, you might think it, but You. Would. Be. Wrong.
**I’m not going even going to entertain this one. See above.
***Act now! Quickly, before I change my mind!