So this is 40….Jesus Christ, really?

They say, ‘Time flies when you’re having fun.’ But the more accurate statement would be, ‘Time flies no matter what.’ Or, as Steven King so hauntingly put it, ‘Time takes care of everything…whether we want it to or not.’

I’ve maintained a blog, in some form or another, for more than 10 years. Want proof? Look no further than THIS POST I wrote a decade ago as I approached my 30th Birthday.

I can’t help but smile when I think of my 30th. It kicked off with a surprise dinner organized and masterminded by my closest friends and continued with a house party at Jamie & Jay’s. It was truly one for the ages and looking back, I can honestly say it was the most fun I had since my teenage years and has yet to be topped.

But looking back on that night, I can’t help but feel sadness along with the joy. Sadness that Cooter and Charlie, who celebrated with me that night, are no longer with us. Sad that a decade that held so much promise turned out to be kinda shitty.

Besides losing some really close friends I also moved about five times. I’ve changed jobs more times than many do in a lifetime. I battled addiction and suffered a lot because of it. I’ve also lost touch with a few people I thought I’d remain close with forever. I’ve watched my parents grow old. Even as they live (mostly) happy and (somewhat) healthy lives, it’s still surreal to watch the ones who cared for you for so long slowly become the ones who need caring for.

As I sit here, a few months removed from the big 4-0,  I do so with contentment. Being content is okay. Being content is often the best we can hope for. As I sit here a 40-year-old man it brings me peace knowing I’m fully aware of exactly who I am and with that folks comes contentment.

I know I’ve been blessed with a sense of humor. A personality trait I inherited from my grandfather on mom’s side and my mother as well. Surprisingly, as my dad grew into an old man and we became more like “buddies” than father and son I realized that my dad, porkchop Pete, also has a pretty wicked sense of humor. Standing in line at the grocery store, it’s not uncommon for my dad to turn to me as we begin to check out with some pretty 20-something cashier and say, “You distract her while I push the cart outside,” or, if he’s feeling particularly bold, “Are you the girl who turns and looks the other way for $5 dollars?”

Granted, my sense of humor has, at times, turned people completely off to me, but for the most part it has endeared me to some pretty great people who I call friends to this day.

I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I cry every time Andy Dufresne escapes from Shawshank or when Jenny and Forrest reunite in D.C. I tear up at wedding proposals and just about any Facebook video featuring a kind human rescuing a homeless or injured animal.

Animals, I love them. It’s no secret for the past seven years my best friend has been my pain-in-the-ass puggle Andy. He’s been with me through a whole lot of shit and if I stare too long at his graying whiskers I’ll probably break down and cry. Hell, my neighbors have recently started raising chickens in my backyard. Occasionally, I’m tasked with feeding and watering them, as well as letting them out of their coop in the morning so they can free graze. I can’t tell you how often I lay in bed worrying that some predator is tearing his way into the cage about to feast on a chicken dinner and I’m gonna wake up to a bloody massacre in my backyard.

Speaking of worrying, I don’t think anyone worries more than me. I fucking worry about everything. Do I have cancer? Will I get cancer? Will my loved ones get into a car accident? Will the kids in my life grow up to be happy? Will the kids in my life grow up at all? Did my air conditioner shit the bed while I’m at work and now my dog is cooking in my apartment? Did I remember to lock my door? Is someone stealing my TV while I’m at the store? Will Jon Snow and Tyrion make it to the end of Game of Thrones alive?

I have a disease known as addiction. I’m not even gonna debate with those who say addiction is not a disease. Don’t think so? Just ask your doctor. Addiction almost got the better of me in the years leading up to 40. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by some pretty great people who actually cared if I lived or died….even if, at times, I did not. I couldn’t have done it alone, but now count myself as one of the lucky ones who will celebrate three years of sobriety this Halloween. I know way too many people who were not as lucky and ended up on the absolute wrong side of addiction and have left nothing behind but grieving friends and family asking ‘could I have done more?’ (sidenote, and I feel like a radio commercial here, but if you are struggling or know someone close to you who is battling addiction, feel free to reach out to me privately and I can certainly point you in the direction of some great resources who helped me when I needed it the most.)

Women! Women! Lots of pretty women! Yes, I absolutely love the female species: their shampoo smell shortly after a shower, their wavy hair, styled for a night on the town or an important job interview. Their loud musical laugh when they find something truly funny and the way they are almost instantly embarrassed they found something so juvenile so damn hilarious. The way the prettiest ones have eyes that actually sparkle when they catch the right light. Unfortunately, I’ve always been terrified to approach girls, well, the ones I’m interested in, anyway. Maybe it’s fear of rejection or lack of confidence, who knows. It’s so frustrating though to be so terrified of something I find so beautiful.

I’m not quite resigned to the fact that as I get older, statistically speaking, it becomes less likely that I will find “the one.” It’s always been a life goal to get married and have kids. I love kids. It’s only natural that I have an inner desire to procreate and leave something behind when my time is up. And, more importantly, I need someone to fucking take care of me when I’m old and drooley.

And ladies, sure, I’ve not been blessed with the boyish good looks of Ryan Gosling or the rugged handsomeness of Blake Shelton but the good Lord has blessed me in other ways and not a day goes by I don’t thank him for those nine inches.

So…..Just because I’m content and finally know exactly who the hell I am does not mean for one second I’m not open to new experiences, exciting adventures and perhaps even a one night stand or two.

With all of the above being said, as I begin my fifth decade on this planet, I’m asking the universe to slow the fuck down for me. The last 10 years went by in a blink and next time that happens I’ll be 50 and that is absolutely terrifying.

I’ve never really been a religious person but I do believe in a higher power. Maybe that higher power can step in, help me defy the odds and show me that regardless of everything else, the best is still yet to come.