Today I’m 40. Forty. A 4 with a 0 behind it. Four decades. Yeap, no matter how I write it, it looks like a long time. Depending on how long I live, I could either be at the halfway mark or a little less than half of my life. But you know what? It hasn’t been a big deal. Really hasn’t. I’ve seen other doods go through strange midlife crisis stuff, as if hitting 40 was some kind of bell going off signaling the timer is running down. I was half expecting a last minute holy shit moment, but it hasn’t surfaced. Maybe it will, when I’m 45 or something, or maybe tomorrow. Who knows? People are strange that way.
What I have noticed is that I’m reflecting a lot lately. I’ve been looking at where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’ve been looking at the world around me and seeing the changes in life, technology, politic’s, ect. It strikes me that some of the changes in the world, the change to the flow of history, where things that I expected, like the evolution of computing, the internet, some political changes; and then there where things that happened that I wasn’t expecting at all, like the Teletubbies. Really, what’s up with that?
I’ve lost friends and I’ve lost family. My Uncle German, my aunt Norma, and the one that threw me for a looper, I lost my father Alfredo three years ago. I just don’t know how to express the way I feel today when I think of Papaluca. There is so much I wish I could tell him, and show him, and ask him. There’s this whole conversation that I need to have with him that I can’t. It’s tough. I’d love to bring him to my house, sit him down in a comfortable chair, hand him his favorite beer, a good cigar, and go:
Hey Papi, today I’m 40. How am I doing Pop? What can I expect now? What’s up with all this new eyebrow hair dood? What do you think of my new home? I’m working as hard and as best as I can. What do you think of my pretty wife? I love her a lot. Do you think she’ll make a good mommy? My car engine is a little loud, what do you think it is? Am I a good son Papaluca? Am I making you proud?
Of course, I’ve gained a bunch of things to. I started and closed a business, and now I’ve started and growing a new one. I have really good friends. I have a beautiful wife, and we’re gonna make big, beautiful rumblepuppies. I have my family, my mom Myriam, my brothers Lazaro and Alfred and his family, and my cousin Errol (Elli) and his family are still with me. My grandmother Maria (Doña Maria) turned 100 years old dood. She still gives me those awesome birdie kisses. I have a wonderful home, and it’s in a relatively calm neighborhood. (Hey, big ol Cuban me lives there. We’re loud folk) And the best part, I’ve still got places to go and people to see.
My body ain’t the same it used to be. Fuuuccckkk that part sucks. Yes, I can definitely feel a bit perturbed at aging. I can still drink people under the table, but I gotta train for it. When I was in my twenties, I could stay awake for a week. Now that I’m forty, I can stay awake for a week with 4 hour breaks every day. When I was 20, a six foot tall wall was a hindrance, today it’s a freakin’ wall. When I was twenty, I could do 20 things at once. Today I can do 3 things at once, but I can prepare for the other 17. When I was twenty, running was not that big of a deal, I did it for football all the time. Today, if someone suggests running, I suggest some other form of traverse, like a car. I don’t remember much of my twenties, cause, you know, tequila.
But it seems a little surreal to me. Inside my head, there’s an 18 year old rumblepup with long hair that’s looking out my eyes at the world. He’s the one who still goes apeshit for music, and movies, and that sweet XBOX360 Elite I got for Christmas. He’s the one that reaches for chocolate donuts and a gallon of Cuban coffee likes it’s no big frickin’ deal. He’s the one that’s a fan of Warren Ellis. He’s the one that hears the word “boobies” and pokes his head up as if the Continental Army just marched in.
“40 years old? Bullshit, ” he says, “I’m gonna live forever.” Then their is the 40 year old with a bald head looking back in there and saying “Thanks for stickin with me kid, we’ve still got a lot to do.”