Lordy, Lordy, Ish Is 40

Today, Ish turns 40. The big four-oh. The...uh...whatever else people call it. I don't know another expression.

I remember pouring over those stupid catalogs when I was little, the ones that sold t-shirts and balloons that can be PERSONALIZED! ("customized" wasn't a big word then) to announce that [your name here] is over the hill! I distinctly remember a series of products that said, "Lordy, Lordy, Edward's 40." (For the record, I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but that? That will be lodged in my brain forever. Awesome.)

Anyway, it's tough. I can't speak for Ish. I don't know what he's feeling exactly because I am not in his shoes. But I do know he's not feeling very excited. He is not throwing any parties with PERSONALIZED! balloons. He is not whooping it up and shouting from rooftops the way his, uh, girlfriend might. He didn't even take a day off -- in fact, he got up early to go to the gym before work.

And of course, I have to let him have his time and his space and his celebration however he wants it. Or doesn't want it. It's his to choose.

But I do get to say a few things here, from my perspective, as me. Because today, my boyfriend -- my friend, my partner, my laughing buddy, my lover, my love -- turns 40. And I think that's pretty fantastic.

It isn't easy starting over. I'm not sure that he thinks of it that way, but that's pretty much what Ish did. He took the safe, warm, comfortable life he was living and he rattled his cage. (Rattled it but good.) The result was painful and scary and lonely.

But I don't know the half of it. It wasn't just the gut-wrenching demise of his marriage, of course; it was all that came before and after. Things I don't know and can't know because they were his, and they were then.

We all have our thens.

I just know the now. The since. The Ish with battle wounds, who's learned a thing or two or twelve million.

And I really, really like him.

Speaking from my own experience, though, it is kind of bullshit.

It takes us a whole long time to live and learn and get to know our real selves. It's so unfair that we can't stop the aging process in the meanwhile.

If you're going to start over, if you're going to take what you've learned and apply it to the aftermath of whatever disaster it was that taught you damn near everything, you should get a reset button. Do over. Subtract that last year, please. Or five. Or you know what? Let's just do our twenties over again -- once more with feeling!

Because now you know better, and I get it. You want to take your battle-wounded self and stay in the body of a dashing 28-year-old forever.

I get, too, that Ish can't help but look back on all he's done and marvel, albeit with a dose of melancholia, at his life's ever-windy path. I know he's pretty happy with where he is now, but I also know he didn't see "here" coming. (Jesus, who ever does?)

I think Ish is trying to figure out how it's possible that he's done as much as he has, and still feel like he's just at the beginning. Age 40, sans reset button.

And I feel like shouting: Hey buddy, this IS just the beginning! This party is just! Getting! Started!

That's how I feel. That's what I believe.

We ventured out and traveled and got jobs and tried things on and lived and loved and hit a few (thousand) bumps in the road. And we picked ourselves up and brushed ourselves off and what do you know? Things (eventually) got better. And better. And there's no reason to think they won't keep winding and changing and uh, bettering.

Look. 40 isn't what it used to be.

40 is whatever you want it to be.

Like a giant, wonderful stepping-off point.

Ish can take all that he's learned and all that he is and walk comfortably into the next phase of his life, ready to take it on. He is a genuinely good, genuinely whole human being. (Who, by the way, could give any dashing 28-year-old a run for his money.)

I don't doubt that his next 40 years will be amazing.

Dear Ish,

40? Totally PWND! by you.



  1. 40 sounds pretty terrific to me (it's all in your perspective...)! It's really a great age, Ish, because you can have all that hard-earned wisdom and still feel (and almost get away with acting) like a teenager. Sending lots of love and best wishes. xoxo

  2. Ish is CUTE! Happy birthday to him.

  3. that's real nice. I'm happy for you.

  4. I would have never guessed Ish is 40- you wear it well Ish!

    Happy Birthday and here's to another year of figuring it out. ;-)

  5. Happy Birthday, Ish! Just remember that 40 is FABULOUS!

    My Dear Hubby turned the "BIG 50" this year, and I firmly believe that he just keeps getting better and better each year!

  6. Happy Birthday to a guy I've never met but think I'd probably like if I did.

    Turning 40 didn't bother me, probably because there's a disconnect between my real age and my "mental age." I still feel and act like I'm in my 20s. I also have more in common with people who are younger than those who are my age--most of my friends are in their late 20s/early 30s. Perhaps I'll feel bad about feeling like I've turned 40 around the time I retire.

    Congratulations, Ish, for not settling for the life you didn't want. Happy birthday and, as they say in the Pooh books, many happy returns of the day.

  7. Oh, by the way, Kristi, are you aware that Robert Crais released a new Elvis Cole novel last month? Chasing Darkness. It's very tightly plotted, one of his best.

  8. I'm a first time commenter, but I've been reading your site forever. This was so sweet, made me cry!! Also, side note: when my boyfriend and I got our first cat we almost named her Ish after the funny little Hispanic guy on that show Pimp My Ride. So every time I read when you talk about Ish, I think to myself, "We could have named her Ish...instead we named her Squirrel."
    Keep writing! Love it, as always.

  9. I'll be 40 in a few weeks. I would love to relive my 20's with the knowledge I have right now. So, maybe I'll kind of "just do that". This was kind of inspiring as I was looking at my 40th b-day as just another b-day...but, it could very well be the start of another brand of the 20's.

    Wonderfully written birthday gift! Happy Birthday to you Ish!

  10. Happy 40th, Ish!
    I wish I could see the pictures :( Websense has them blocked, I guess.

    Also . . . damn girl! You're up early!

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  12. I am fast approaching 40 and kind of looking forward to it. They say that 40 is the new 30 thanks to changes in lifestyle and medical science.

    To completely misquote the overly quoted Forrest Gump, "Age is as age does".

    Enjoy the wisdom you have gained and the fact that you're not forced to eat non-solid foods and take Sennacot daily.

    A wonderful gift you've written, Kristy.

  13. Dude. I totally want to hire you to write my birthday greeting at 40. This was amazing.

  14. It is called THE MIGHTY 40!

    (I haven't read the post yet, cos I was all excited to tell you that it's THE MIGHTY 40!)

    So, Happy MIGHTY 40 to Ish!

    And now I'll go read your post.

  15. You are being featured on Five Star Friday:

  16. Ish, Wishing you another 40 filled with love, laughter and lotsa good stuff!

  17. Thanks for the good wishes, everybody!

    And thanks for the beautful post, K. I love you.

  18. lovely, lovely post. and yes, ish, 40's awesome. i'm having a great time in my 40's. hope yours are fabulous!


    No, really, this was so good, and I'm totally with you on the "hi, I'm better now, I can haz the last five years back, plz?"

    Happy birthday a little late, Ish. I enjoy you as my Twitter buddy. : ) And if there were ever an advertisement for moving to San Francisco and getting a lovely new lease on life, you guy are it. I like both of you.


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