Forty is the New Twenty: Tales of My 40th Birthday, Part 1

This is the story of how I decided to act like a grownup so I could celebrate my fortieth birthday like a teenager.

I don’t usually make a fuss about celebrating my birthday. Last December, with my fortieth birthday hanging over me like a phone call you don’t want to make or a bill you have to pay instead of buying a new pair of shoes, I set a few challenges for myself:

1. Get to my Weight Watchers goal weight by my birthday.
I’d been regularly busting my butt at CrossFit Bootcamp and eating pretty well most of the time, but I wasn’t working toward my goals with any kind of focus. And the 35 lbs. I’d already lost had dwindled to 24. I was feeling flabby and tired. I decided to follow The Zone Diet within Weight Watchers, to push myself more at Bootcamp, and to start a running program.

2. Start my mystery novel.
My 40-hour-per-week corporate dayjob solves a lot of problems — most of them financial — and gives me the resources and time to work on getting in the best shape of my life. Sadly, it also sucks away creative energy, so I was thinking about my novel quite a bit, but I was paralyzed by the idea of starting it, of actually putting words to paper. I decided to take a week off from work to celebrate my birthday by starting my book, and I joined a bookclub to complete the course outlined in The Artist’s Way.

3. Celebrate the hell out of my birthday.
For my birthday vacation, I planned to go to Port Aransas to write and relax and run on the beach… see John Waite at the Cactus Cafe… eat pizza and Lucy’s cake in my backyard with some of my favorite people… and rock my ass off at Mike Ness shows in Dallas and Houston.

I did all that and more. Whoop!

The first two commitments above meant saying “no” to a lot of stuff. But the payoff has been pretty goddamn good. I’ve lost 15 lbs. since January and had to move my belt buckle two notches. My blood pressure which was formerly “borderline high” is now normal, and I can do 50 pushups on my toes, which according to this web site, means I’m in the top 94% for men my age (rating: excellent).

The plot of my novel is all worked out, and I wrote the first 300 words; that sucker is officially started. I also wrote a fairytale, about a punk rock mermaid; I haven’t written a story just for fun since I was about eight years old.

A lot of stuff happened between the time I bounced out of the office on Friday, April 25 and meandered back in on Wednesday, May 7, and I’m going to document it all right here. Stay tuned for the next installment of Forty is the New Twenty: Tales of My 40th Birthday.

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