It’s October! That’s my favorite month of the year for various reasons.
It’s New England autumn, which is the best place and season combination anywhere. The first frosts of the year kill off the last of the bugs, and there are falling leaves and pumpkins and long drives on country roads through forests that are so bright with color, it’s like nature showing off its entire sixteen trillion Pantone shades available in PlanetShop Pro. We have the pellet stove going (the dogs greatly approve), there’s apple cider in the fridge, and the farm stand out on 4A has those little homemade cider donuts that are terribly easy to eat by the dozen.
Then there’s my birthday at the end of the month, of course.
I was a bit ambiguous about this one, being the big four-oh and all. But the other day I was talking to an old friend from Germany, and I mentioned that I was dreading the 40th just a little. I mean, it’s the onset of middle age, and I don’t even have the cash yet for the Corvette I’m supposed to be buying for my midlife crisis, and how am I supposed to cruise up and down the street in front of the all-girls college with a dirty minivan that has old McDonald’s fries permanently incorporated in the interior?
Well, my friend recently lost his sister to cancer. She was a year younger than I am now. We lived on the same street, so we knew each other pretty well, although I hadn’t seen or spoken to her in fifteen years or so. She left behind a husband and two daughters that are barely teenagers. When I told him about dreading my 40th birthday a bit, he cut right through my silly little bout of self-pity.
"Don’t," he said. "Be happy instead. My sister would have loved to turn 40."
And you know what? He’s absolutely right. There’s not a damn thing wrong with my life. I have an awesome wife and two healthy and happy kids, we have food in the fridge, the bills get paid, the house is ours, and I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do with my life. (Actually, I suspect writing is the only thing I’m fit for, seeing how I’m not a huge fan of manual labor and the thought of returning to corporate Cubicleville makes me break out in hives.)
So bring it on, 40. I’m looking forward to the next decade. If things keep falling into place like they have in my Thirties, my Forties are going to kick major ass.