A Blogger Looks At Forty

So I turned forty today. Apparently I’m supposed to be depressed.

Can’t manage that one; I’m about to leave the house for the best burger in the world at Ann’s Snack Bar, followed by an afternoon of debauchery at the Decatur Beer Festival. The schedule simply does not allow for being maudlin today, but even if it did, I’m having a hard time working up any major depression.

Think of the things I’d have missed if I were younger. I saw Star Wars in its first run in 1977. I watched Reagan’s inaugural when I was in the sixth grade and the Berlin Wall collapse when I was in college at Auburn. I saw every minute of Live Aid in 1985, the stereo cranked up and my jaw agape.

I went to Texas for engineering and Oxford for English literature, both on scholarship, and sold my first book–off the slush pile–by the time I was 25. I haven’t sold everything I ever submitted for publication, but I’ve had more sales than rejections. I’ve been quoted by the BBC and CNN and Howie Kurtz–and the latter was after I went out of my way to insult the guy. And pretty much by accident, I somehow managed to worm myself into the publishing history of Harry Potter. I’ve cracked up Jimmy Buffett and Bill Buckley. I’ve watched the sun set over the caldera in Santorini, and seen satellites pass over the midnight sky of west Texas.

I’ve met two-thirds of my favorite band, I’ve seen the Rolling Stones at Wembley Stadium and Dash Rip Rock at the War Eagle Supper Club. I learned to play (bad) rock guitar and had a ball doing it. I’ve read Milton in the Radcliffe Camera at Oxford and wandered through Franz Liszt’s house in Budapest. I strolled through Checkpoint Charlie and Wenceslas Square before either of them were tourist traps. I’ve been to at least eight Mardi Gras and a couple of Jazz Fests and God only knows how many long weekends in New Orleans.

I’ve seen Bo Jackson run over people and Nolan Ryan pound the tar out of Robin Ventura; I’ve watched Michael Jordan and Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, all in person. I’ve been to four Sugar Bowls and seen my team go undefeated twice. I’ve thrown up on two continents and in the backseat of an F-16D at Mach 1. I’ve been responsible for blowing up several dozen aircraft, and I even got paid for it.

I have a great family. My parents are still together after 46 years of marriage, and I have two pre-teen nephews who are more than happy to joyously beat the crap out of me every chance they get. I’m married to a beautiful woman who owns more guitars than I do. Why on earth would I think the next forty years might be any less awesome?

And by the time you read this, I will be not just happily full, but also happily loaded. What business do I have being depressed?


16 Responses to “A Blogger Looks At Forty”

  1. BrotherJ Says:

    “What business do I have being depressed?”

    None whatever as far as I can see. Happy Birthday, Will!

  2. Mr Lady Says:

    Will, forty is the new, um, er…

    Members Only Jacket?

    Any way, happy 40th to you!

  3. Stephen Green Says:

    Happy birthday, my friend. Judging by the first round, the next forty ought to be even better.

  4. NukemHill Says:

    Mazel Tov!

    My 40th was surprisingly happy for me. I went into it with quite a bit of dread, but woke up that morning knowing that my loving family had lots of surprises in store for me. That took the edge right off, and I proceeded to have a fabulous day.

    It’s been good ever since. Not perfect, but good. Which is all any of us can expect, yes?

  5. amosjo Says:

    40 is the new 30, except better ’cause you’re smarter.

    I looked forward to turning 30, and now I look forward to turning 40. Life’s good here in Colorado. Love that picture you posted. Where is that?? I’m thinking Lake Dillon, but what do I know?

    Happy Birthday.

  6. TBoyle Says:

    Obama is going to redistribute your savings–how’s that?

  7. bmeuppls Says:

    So, you borrow a line from Buffett and pay homage to Rush. Hmmph.

    I don’t see any mention of going to see Buffett in the early 70s in Atlanta before he hit it big, either.

    You… youngster.

    I will have to try out Anne’s, though. Don’t know how I have missed it being a native. Of course, being a native, I now live in the burbs, and Decatur is generally just a parking spot for Marta to get to a Braves game.

  8. jimmy Says:

    Very well said. Cheers!

  9. jon Says:

    I recently turned 38, and I’ve also had a good life so far and don’t see any reasons to despair at any upcoming milestones. With one exception (the year of my divorce,) every year in my life has been as good or better than the previous one. Funny how a good outlook, some planning to reach goals, a love of finding and figuring out new things, and a willingness to work at them makes for a good life.

  10. Doug Mataconis Says:


    I’m with you.

    Screw the idea that turning 40 means being depressed.

    I hit “the big 4-0” as some call it a little over two months ago and I spent it having a great time at my favorite restaurant in downtown DC with my wife and our best friends.

    None of that over the hill BS, no tombstone cakes.

    As far as I’m concerned, this is just the beginning.

  11. Andrew Breitbart Says:

    Happy birthday, peer. I turn 40 in February and not as enthusiastic about the marker.

    I would pay serious cash to have Hoakie and Fred LeBlanc join Bill for an original Dash reunion.

    I’d pay good cash just to see the current incarnation. Best bar band I have ever seen.

    Great writing always.

  12. Jolly Roger Jay Says:

    Hello Will and Happy 40th birthday. Thank God Nashville is a fun city, otherwise the trip would have been dreadful. Getting ready for a trip to Oxford and the Rebels. War Eagle, Jay (Jolly Roger Grill)

  13. NicoleTedesco Says:

    Happy 40! Myself, I am turning 45 next month. It looks like we are facing the Great Age Conundrum: youth is wasted on the young.

    I met the mother of am old friend while visiting Ye Olde Home Town over the summer. This woman just turned 70–wow! She told me she’s having a great time, but of course her body has been betraying her as of late. We were laughing about the age thing and she said, “Of course it sucks–just as you get everything all figured out, you’re old!”

    Here’s to hoping that Ray Kurzweil is right!

  14. NicoleTedesco Says:

    One of my grandmothers just turned 94. I remember over Christmas she was telling us that if it wasn’t for ther eye sight (she is suffering from macular degeneration), she would go back to work. She was bored. Close to this Christmas however, osteoporosis is finally starting to catch up with her.

    With age, it’s always something. This is the curse of the over-40 crowd. It’s not that life isn’t grand, it’s not that you don’t get to experience great joys, it’s not that you don’t have greater control in the world because of increased power, wealth and status, it’s just that from your body’s perspective “it’s all downhill from here.” From my perspective this has been this decade that my weight started climbing uncontrollably even as I have reduced my food intake and increased my exercise habit. This has been the decade that my eyes have started to show signs of presbyopia (it’s time for progressive lenses). This has been this decade that my sexual appeal has begun to wane (to the extent that I ever had any–sigh).

    Again I hope Ray Kurzweil is right.

  15. metcalfjm Says:

    You are one day older than I am sir. I was born Oct 19th, 1968, and now I too am 40. Interestingly enough, Rush is also one of my favorite bands, and I own an authentic Les Paul Studio. It sports a pretty mean crunch that sounds awesome when banging out “Spirit of Radio”; “Limelight”; and “Fly By Night”. Happy Birthday and Rock On!!!

  16. McGehee Says:

    When I saw the title I thought you were regarding an oversized bottle of malt liquor.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: