Once upon a time, not that long ago, I thought that 40 seemed old.
I remember when my Dad turned 40. Somebody who will remain nameless thought it would be funny to order 40 pink flamingos and stick them on the front law of our home, and announce to the world (or those who drove past our home at the end of our cul de sac) that dad had reached this milestone birthday.
Even though my father was (and still is) a tireless worker, and in pretty good shape, that 40th birthday milestone seemed old to me. I wasn’t even a teenager at the time.
And when I moved here in September 2000, just six weeks shy of my 22nd birthday, 40 seemed like a long ways away.
(Those who can do simple math can probably guess where I’m going with this column).
I will turn 40 on Oct. 16. I will officially join the ranks of middle aged and crazy. Until Oct. 16, I will merely be crazy.
I don’t expect a huge mid-life crisis. I still have most of my hair, although the hairline recedes a little each year, and the bald spot in the back of my head gets a little larger. I don’t need a comb-over.
I’m in relatively good shape physically, but I could stand to lose a few pounds. (Jogging season was rather abbreviated this year).
I’m not going to be one of those guys who needs to dye my hair and do something bizarre in an illogical effort to recapture my youth.
And I don’t think I’m over the hill, although some might argue I went over that hill a few years ago.
Some tell me I look younger than I really I am. I hope they’re not sucking up to me. Others argue that they have a hard time believing I’m only 40, although that might have something to do with the fact I’ve been here for a really long time.
(Note: it still seems like just yesterday I moved to Estevan, so I take exception when people use phrases like “many years ago” when talking about the year 2000).
I’ve already had the big 4-0 birthday bash. My Dad and I spent a week in Toronto in late September, taking in many of the sites in the city, from the CN Tower to Woodbine Race Track. Throw in a Toronto Maple Leafs game, a Toronto Blue Jays game, the game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Toronto Argonauts, the Hockey Hall of Fame, the harbour area, Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake and some of southern Ontario’s best restaurants and breweries, and you have an unforgettable week that will remain among my favourite vacations ever.
It means my 40th birthday itself might be a little subdued. And please note: I don’t plan on enjoying a certain product that will be legal in Canada the day after my 40th birthday.
Now, if you’ll humour me for a moment, I’m going to break into one of those “I remember when” spiels associated with aging.
There are lots of changes that have happened in my life. I remember when I had to wait for the following day’s newspaper to see who scored in the NHL game the night before. Now I can find out who scored against the Vancouver Canucks on an almost instantaneous basis.
I remember when there would be two or three NHL games on each week during the regular season. Now there’s two or three games a night, even without NHL Centre Ice.
I remember the first time my family purchased a remote control for the television, and how cool it was when our options soared from 13 channels to 29. Oh, the choices. Now there are hundreds of channels.
I remember when we started hearing whispers about this Information Superhighway, and how it could bring all sorts of stuff to you through your computer. You used this thing called a modem, and you could download all sorts of cool stuff. The download speeds from the early 1990s would be considered glacial compared to the speeds now.
When I moved here in 2000, Lifestyles had just invested in digital cameras. It was a new technology, and the cameras weren’t very good. Now the digital cameras are highly advanced, film is archaic, Kodak filed for bankruptcy a few years ago, and we all tote around cameras in our phones that have video capabilities.
Not that long ago, we could have never have imagined concepts such as social media, smart phones that can store all of our data and keep us up to date with the world, or special effects seen with today’s movies. .
You can argue that these changes haven’t been great, or for the better. But for most of us, we can’t imagine living without them, even though many advances are relatively recent.
I consider myself fortunate that I’ve seen and used these advances, that I remember how things used to be, and that I can evaluate the upside and downside of these changes.
A lot has changed in less than 40 years.
I still remember thinking that 40 was old, 50 was older and 60 was really old. These first 40 years have been a blur. The next 40 (if I last that long) will go by even quicker.
But I’ll do my best to make the most of it.