In a week, I’ll turn 40. No shame, no trepidation, no lady macbeth style hand wringing going on over here.

I’ll be forty years old.
Not years young, or some other number that makes me feel like I’ve cheated the passage of time somehow. I’ve earned this. I have lived and breathed and danced and fucked and screamed and fought and been hurt and laughed so hard that there was pain. The good kind. I’ve been places and met people and done things that are wonderful and silly and I’ve been loved and I have loved, fortunately.

Sometimes when people find out how old I am, they ask me how I look so young. My first thought is, well, I’m not ancient or anything. (Especially when one considers my plan to have an eleventy first birthday and then walk into the sea. Then I’ll be ancient and wise and probably sassy as fuck if I’m lucky.) But my usual response is to say, “I laugh a lot. At everything. And not at so much, but with.

I laugh with life, when it shows me things absurd, things delightful, things silly and mirthful and joyous. But I also laugh when it is sad, when it is painful, when it angers me. Because the alternative doesn’t seem as fun. But that’s a post for another time.

Tonight, when I was thinking about how someone recently said to me, “You don’t look 40.” And I puzzled on that. Ended up searching for pictures of people who are 40. To see if I could recognize the number on their faces,there was some similarity in our features, our demeanour.

But there is nothing that says any one experience will be the same for any two people. In fact, because of the subjective quality of perspective, there is almost a guarantee (though there are no guarantees, don’t believe people who tell you otherwise, unless you really want to, I suppose) that they will be quite different, even when shared.

And so, the next time (if there is one) someone tells me I don’t look 40, I can smile at them and say, “Actually, yes. Yes I do.”

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