COLUMN: Nap needed for life beginning at 40

Saturday Beat

I’m turning 40 next month and I must admit I’m pretty stoked about it.

Not so much about the visit with the dude with the rubber glove, but more about the fact that when you’re 40, you can do pretty much whatever the hell you want, and you actually have the money to pay for it.

In my 20s, life was all about adventure, drinking beer, chasing women and barely passing those university and college classes.

I happily stumbled through life in a fog with about $20 in the bank but somehow managed to clothe, feed and provide shelter for myself. Looking back, I’m shocked I survived.

Over the past 10 years, that fun-loving attitude has turned more toward looking ahead and preparing for the future.

Paying down a mortgage, saving RRSPs, and building a career. All that responsibility has translated into less fun, but improved stability.

Now I’m going to put it all together, which is apparently how life begins at 40. I can do all the cool things I did when I was in my 20s, except I can afford to stay somewhere decent instead of in the car or on a park bench. I just have to make sure I’m in bed by 10 p.m. Party on.

So here I am on the brink of four-oh, and despite the fact that my wake-up face in my 20s and 30s is now my all-day face, I’ve earned the right to not care at all.

Most of the hair on my head has sought shelter in my nose and ears, getting out of bed in the morning after a mountain bike ride resembles something like the Tin Man emerging from a two-week bath in salt water, and I have to walk right up to the PVR and squint to see if the red ‘record’ light is on.

I tell the same story to the same person three or four times, and the kids on my street call me Grumpy ‘Ol Man Gorman (or is that my co-workers?).

But perspective is everything. I still think old age is people at least 15 years older than I am, no matter what my age. I’m still a kid a heart.

So how do I picture my 40s playing out? I’d like to begin by stating that having not really expected to survive my 20s, I’m pretty pumped just to be here. It’s gravy.

With that said, unlike some of my friends, I have no desire to prove my testosterone is still being manufactured somewhere in my body by running a marathon or riding a bull at a rodeo.

I’m not going to rush out and buy that dream motorcycle (a Honda CBR 1100 XX Super Blackbird, to be precise), jump out of a plane or ski off the nearest 40-foot cliff.

I’ll leave all that stuff for my 50s.

No, in my 40s it’s going to be all about me.

For the past four decades I’ve been told what to do by pretty much everybody. From zero to 10 years old it was my parents and teachers; from 11-20 it was teachers and policemen (it was my house but not my party); from 21-30 it was mostly policemen (my party) and cranky bosses who somehow rose well beyond the level of their incompetence, but university and college profs, too.

The last 10 years my schedule has been dictated by the events I cover as a reporter and perhaps a couple of helpful suggestions by my lovely wife.

I’ve done all I’ve been asked to do and have done it to the best of my ability, and now it’s Toby time. It’s time to gear down, do the things I want to do like travel to other countries, explore the province’s epic backcountry powder stashes, maybe do a little fly fishing, and sit on my porch and drink beer.

I even bought a single-speed mountain bike so I don’t have to think about shifting.

It’s gonna be great.

Maybe life really does begin at 40. I’d better take a nap to get ready.

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com