The onslaught of middle age can make you downright distraught. In the eighties, you rough-housed like a mighty middleweight prizefighter, but now, as you approach twilight, you're overweight and overwrought, thighs weak as spaghetti, eyesight decaying. And all the youthful, Foghorn Leghorn-like pontification seems like self-righteous, haughty pigheadedness.
It's a frighteningly ghoulish pain in the bunghole.
All right, that's enough.
Yesterday was my birthday, and I had this idea that I could write a post with a lot of "gh" words in it, because "gh" upside-down looks a lot like "46." Which is how old I am. But in the end, it was taking too much time, and there has to be more to life than wondering how to fit "gingham" and "boardinghouse" into an autobiographical narrative, right?
It's an odd thing to celebrate a birthday in a town where you don't know anyone yet. The kids were there to tackle me with their affections and help me make the cake, but apart from that, all the wellwishing was from afar. And it was fine, because that's exactly what I expected. I got about a dozen phone calls (starting with my mom, who always calls at 9:10am), and a bunch of social-media shout-outs from friends all over the country. And that was pretty cool. It's all part of how all this relentless connectedness, for all its drawbacks, is making this transition a helluva lot easier than it would have been five years ago.
I think my favorite part of the day was when one of my best friends told me that 46 is when a man gets interesting. Which is the perfect thing to say to a man who's slaloming down the slope toward 50; it reminds you that aging is a lot less ghastly if you can focus on the highlights.