This is Forty
For those of you who aren’t aware, I recently turned forty years old. Well technically it was two years ago. I figure we can’t really count 2020 as a year and I didn’t play well in my year 40 season so I figure I could take a mulligan. Well it finally caught up to me last week on my birthday and I realized that this is forty now.
Leading up to my birthday I got stuck in one of those social media time loops. I watched as my feed was full of people on yachts, or showing off their six pack abs and talking about being forty. Meme’s like 40 is the new 30 jumped off the page and into my face so I figured I would try my own attempt at recapturing my youth.
I was bound and determined to climb a 14er for my 40th (42nd)! For those non-Colorado folks a 14er is 14,000 foot mountain. I was going to do it and it was going to be a great birthday. Then I started looking into it and I would have to wake up at like 4am to get to the mountain early enough to summit safely. Well I’m not in my 20’s anymore so that was out of the question.
New plan! I was going to climb a 13er! A 13er is like a 14er but not quite as far and there are more so you don’t have to wake up as early. This seems like a good plan. After all 40 (42) is the new 30 not the new 20.
The Birthday Hike
Well I pulled up to Mt. Flora. The views were amazing and my birthday hike was going to be spectacular. As I started up the hill I noticed there was still a lot of snow but no matter, I can do this! A few hundred feet later I noticed that the snow wasn’t exactly solid and with each step I was sinking to about my unmentionables. Nothing makes you feel alive on your 40th (42nd) birthday than slipping to your midsection in snow.
I fought and sunk and skated my way about a mile and a half up mount Flora. I was exhausted because walking through hip deep snow isn’t exactly easy treading. About at this time, two young ladies in their twenties passed me by. They were excited and full of pep. Combined they probably weighed less than me so they weren’t post holing, or sinking, down into the snow with every step. They were floating above without a care in the world.
Well I knew I could keep going but I also knew that the sun was going to keep shining and melting the snow and making the trip down all the more treacherous. It was decision time. I could either finish my goal and show everyone on social media that 40 (42) is the new 30 of I could give up.
This is when I realized exactly what age is. It isn’t a number. It is an experience level. If I was 20 I would stay on that hill, I would have crawled on my hands and knees if I had to. I would make it to the top! At 40 (42) I realized that discretion is the better form of valor. My experience had taught me that the mountain isn’t going anywhere and I could always try again.
Wisdom and knowledge are learned from experience and on this, the 2nd anniversary of my 40th birthday, I turned around and fought the battle with my mind instead of my body. Anyone can climb a mountain but how many people do you know who can out smart one?
Stubbornness vs. Experience
A quick follow up to all of my talk of wisdom and knowledge and how being 40 (42) makes you smart enough to make good life choices. I did a follow up hike a couple days later. Hey if celebrities can celebrate their birthday all month so can I!
Coming back from my recent trip to Utah I drove through an amazing town and decided I wanted to come back and try hiking there soon. I did all my research and found a hike that looked great in Leadville. I plugged it into my GPS and headed to that cool looking town I wanted to visit. My GPS immediately started yelling at me and telling me to turn around at every street.
I thought in my very wise 40 (42) year old brain that I was smarter than the GPS. After all, I knew where I was going how dare this computerized voice tell me different. So about an hour into my two hour drive my GPS finally relented and let me continue on my way without interruption. Not only did I outsmart a mountain but now I had outsmarted Google Maps! Take that world, I am unstoppable.
Then I showed up in Buena Vista. The lovely town that I had wanted to visit. Not the town I was convinced I WANTED to visit, Leadville. My extremely wise, knowledgeable, and smart 40 (42) year old brain had gone awry. My stubbornness had led me to the wrong town. So I did what any 20 year old would do and I picked a different hike and had an amazing hike.
I guess no matter how much experience you have, nothing can beat the youthful exuberance of a 20 year old and being able to roll with a mistake like I did in my 30’s. So I guess 40 (42) may not be the new 30 or 20 but its nice to have all three options when needed. And its important to not argue with the GPS.
More from the Fatman
If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy my Fatman’s Ramblings page. It is the home to some literary gems such as: “Screw it, I’m Trying“, “To Pee or not to Pee“, and “Hiking alone is not lonely Hiking“. If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!