I remember when my dad turned 40. My sisters and I delighted in picking out black napkins that proclaimed he was Over The Hill! We giggled when we presented him with our gift, a t-shirt that proclaimed “Lordy Lordy Steve is Forty!” Oh, we had a time teasing him. Such a funny thing our culture. How privileged we are to make fun of turning 40. It’s the furthest thing from a death knell.

But here it is. Forty. I’m nearly the last of my high school friends to step over the threshold – including many of the ones in the grade below. Among my current friends I’m smack dab in the middle. I can hardly complain about mammograms at poker night when I’m the youngest there by a decade. That will not stop me from making these lovelies for our potluck:

6a00e54f10a0988834019b002e0ac4970d-500wiOn the other hand, Debra and some of our closest friends are four years behind me and I suddenly feel like I need a cane in their presence. I realize this is arbitrary and in my head. I say it mostly in jest. There are other things in my head though, no doubt triggered by the idea that this is some sort of landmark. My dreams are weird and featuring a cast of characters I haven’t seen in decades. It’s very Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past in here.

Oddly, I also feel a sense of guilt about not having some sort of elaborate celebration. I’m not a surprise party sort. I’m not a party sort, really. I’d prefer to have dinner, at home, with my wife and daughter and a cake. We talked about going to a restaurant but we are both excellent cooks and what we make at home often outshines our experiences out. We did fly to Arizona to see my family and to eat Sonoran Mexican food in abundance, cuddle my new niece, and bask in the desert air. My family organized a dinner with all of my local extended family, a cake, my very own Lordy Lordy Look Who’s Forty shirt, and a Simon Says (got to keep the old mind from slipping).


This is a wonderful birthday. It’s nothing like the 40th Debra will have because we’re different people and she actually likes the attention. I worry a little that I won’t do it well enough because of my own tendency toward low key, but I have four more years to come up with ideas. In the meantime, today’s my birthday. Happy birthday to me!



13 Responses

  1. Happy Birthday to you!!

    Most of my girlfriends are older, so I get to hear all I have to look forward to. Like you, I rocked that cradle of love – as one friend said, “Dude, you married a freshman!”. I did. Pat’s two years younger but was three years behind me in HS. I’ll need someone to take care of me in my old age!

  2. Happy happy birthday!!!! My wife is very similar to you – she likes a nice, quiet celebration with the people she loves the most in a familiar environment. Her sister is like that, too (in fact, when my SIL turned 30, she tooks all of US out to dinner). I like a little bit more hoopla for my bday, but I always enjoy the smaller, more intimate celebrations as well 🙂

  3. Today’s my birthday too! While it’s not my fortieth, I too am choosing a low-key dinner with my wife over a big party. Beaming thoughts of quiet happiness to you!

  4. Happy, happy birthday! For my mom’s 40th, her friends hired a guy to dance around in a big gorilla suit. That’s all I remember about the party. Scarring.

  5. Happy birthday! Hope you’re enjoying the day.

  6. Yay! Happy, happy birthday!

  7. Happy Birthday! The mammograhams are AMAZING.

  8. Happy birthday! Love the mammograhams.

  9. Happy happy! May the year be fabulous!

  10. Happy Birthday to you! Wishing you all the best from someone on the far side of 40. It feels like the far side anyway.

  11. Happy Birthday to you, indeed! Sliiiightly late,. but the sentiment is the same!

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