Today I turn 40. Don’t worry, I am not going to get all weird about age or wax nostalgic or try to say something profound about getting older. I will say that when I came across someone who would drive very slowly on highways or wait too long at a stop sign, I used to have a tendency to cut him off, roll down my window and yell, “Get off the road, Granny!” That was before I had kids. Now I drive very slowly on highways and wait too long at a stop sign. Okay, here, let me wax nostalgic: I miss the days when I looked all cool and ass-kicking.
Now I have a natural ability to stay calm in really chaotic situations, whereas when I was in my 20s, if the wind changed direction my entire head would burst into flames. I think my reckless yet unregrettable 20s and 30s have made my upcoming 40s wiser, and believe it or not, younger. I know my being 40 means catching breath running laps with my kids, but it doesn’t affect the fact that I enjoyed Ed Sheeran’s show with an ocean of teenagers.
That show was a rare yet very pleasant surprise from Matt who would normally get me a giftcard for my birthday. He was paying very close attention this year and took me to see one of my recent favourite artists. I had no idea until we got to the park. When I knew we were going to see Ed Sheeran, I was floored. It was a perfect summer afternoon. We were lying on the bed of grass, breathing deeply to the smell of green. There were almost no clouds in the sky, and the air felt like a warm bath complete with a foot rub and French fries. Ed Sheeran played all the fan favourites. Thousands of voices singing the words he wrote, all of his fans pumping their arms and fists in the air to emphasize how much they loved being there listening to him. I was one of them.
That night, most of the blood in my body pooled into my calves thanks to the 3-hour standing. And the insidious teens blowing weed smoke in my face. And the eye-rolling I had to do over the beach ball throwing around in the crowd. We didn’t get to bed until 2am. But when I look back at that Saturday evening the thing I remember most, the thing that stands out so vividly and what I will carry with me is the astonishment of one of my favourite artists who looked out at the sea of people gathering around the stage and singing along to every word in total disbelief. Surprisingly wonderful and totally unhip disbelief.
I used to love seeing artists performing music. Now I love them more for recognizing and validating that connection with their fans. I love being a witness to that emotion, that success. Music makes me so happy in a new perspective.
Being 40 is not old. Being 40 is how you look back your 20s and realize that you are as young but more fulfilled.