I turned 42 this week. I was relatively indifferent to it happening, in the sense that it did not stir much within me regarding the passage of time and the aging process. It was a different story when I turned 40, but subsequent milestones have not brought a need for deep existential reflection.
That's not to say that future significant age markers will not bring such things. I suspect that they will, actually. But this week I've been content to be thankful and without age-related dread, focusing on the good of the years behind me rather than agonizing over how many might be left.
After all, there's no pill to ward off a birthday. Many products provide the illusion of such things, but why run from it? What's the use in fighting a battle you won't win?
A few months ago, Gordon Atkinson wrote about the prospect of turning 60:
You will gain perspectives on life as you grow older, perspectives that take work and simply are impossible to understand when you’re younger. You can still be an ignorant ass when you’re old, don’t get me wrong. If you refuse to change and will not look deeply into yourself, you can be old and lack wisdom. I see it all the time. But wisdom of the ages is there for you, if you’ll do some inner work and claim it.
I'd rather have the wisdom that comes with aging than the illusion of eternal youth. I'm doing my part to look after my physical, mental, and spiritual health; to recognize my limitations while also trying to stay as limber as I can holistically.
But my age is what it is. Bands I listened to as a teenager are now eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cecil Fielder's grandson is close to playing in the Major Leagues. There are reminders everywhere that I'm no longer the young one.
It's fine. I embrace who I am now, and anticipate who I've yet to become. And I hope to do the inner work necessary for my older, future self to be even better.