Monday, October 10, 2005

40 is the new 30

My friend Dave says that "Forty is the NEW thirty" and I think he's right. I've been 40 for one week now and I certainly feel and act younger than my own father did at 40. Although, to be fair, Dad was old when he was twelve; it just took his body awhile to catch up with his mindset.
Oh, don't scowl at me. Dad agrees with me and in fact loves to tell people that I've always said he was born old. I think he does it because he likes to make check-out girls giggle...
This build up to 40 has been an interesting one. I think a lot of people expected that turning 40 would bother me. It apparently has bothered or will bother alot of people. I am amused at being 40, simply because I don't mind being 40.
At all.
And this attitude has bothered people.
I think that I was supposed to be upset, thinking about the fact that half of my life has (probably) arrived and that its a downward trek from here. Yet, if this is the mid-point, then I will indulge myself in looking around from up here and see what I can see of my life from this angle. From up here I can honestly say
  • I loved growing up on a dead-end dirt road in Bryantville. Every kid should be so lucky.
  • My family was very "Leave It to Beaver" - everyone that knew our family wanted to be us.
  • It was all a lie.
  • Mom was the best cook ever.
  • My Dad was a "Dad" - but without the neat den and sweater collection.
  • I love my brother and sister but we couldn't be more different from each other at all.
  • The highlight of my acting career was playing Harold Hill in "The Music Man" in the sixth grade.
  • I hated Junior High School and wouldn't relive those two years for anything.
  • High School was great - for reasons to be explained later.
  • I started working as a bundle boy at Stop & Shop when I was 16 and left 13 years later as a manager. I am so glad they laid me off.
  • I hated Massaoit Community College but loved being on the newspaper staff.
  • My Mom died when I was 19 - and I still miss her.
  • Laurie Powers kept me sane for 2.5 years after Mom was gone and I will never forget that.
  • Dad made alot of bad decisions after Mom died and for awhile (a long while) I followed in his footsteps. No longer.
  • I once lived with 3 women.
  • Stan and Nancy Ford gave me a home when I didn't have one and I love them for that.
  • So did Mr. Edlund.
  • Pam gave me a wedding, a separation, my daughter and a divorce (in this order, in less than a year) and I wouldn't change a bit of it. She is a great friend.
  • I have had a handful of romantic relationships. Most of them good, some of them horrible, all of them worth remembering.
I have the best friends in the known universe. I have known the following people since I was in Elementary school / Junior High:
  • George Withers (since age 2)
  • Greg Murphy
  • Victor Johnson
  • Nick Edlund
  • Jim Peterson (no relation, same homeroom in 7th grade)
  • Stan Ford
I owe my High School sanity (and long afterwards) to all of them. "The Crew" as we were known, was a collection of individuals with interests as varied as our personalities and that set us apart from the cookie-cutter cliques of the High School hallways. We were the best of friends and, by and large, we still are.
Ben has moved on to Hollywood fame ("The Tick", anyone?) so we stay in touch infrequently and Stan moved to NH and has his own life now. There were many other friends in High School (too many to list here) and I am in touch with a surprising amount of them. However, Greg, Nick, Jim, Vic and George are the very best friends that I have ever had. Or ever will have. We have laughed together, cried together, drunk together, fought together, buried loved ones (too many), welcomed our wives and children into the fold and in short have done everything that a family does but without the familial obligations to do so.
I am a much better man for knowing all of them and I truly love them all.
My daughter is a blessing in my life. She was the first person in my adult life to make me want to be a better man.
Katie Arnold was the second person to do so.
Katie believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. She kissed me on my birthday in 1999 and we've been together ever since. She has shown me a world that I never knew existed by sharing her world with me. Together we have seen the world (parts of it, anyway) and I learn something new because of her almost every single day. When I married her I married my best friend. She is a great person and a fantastic step-mother (a role she never envisioned for herself but one that she excels in). She is funny, intelligent, creative, stubborn, supportive, dynamic, and she loves me. Go figure... :-)
Because of Katie I went back to college. There I met my friend and writing partner Toni Meehan - who makes me laugh more than anyone else does on a daily basis. Toni is a truly talented writer and an exceptional person. She has helped me to be a better writer and without her The Six Fifty-Seven would not exist. Thank you, Toni.
Since I met Katie I have met a second group of life friends. They are, in no particular order, Janet, Hootie, Marj, Dave ("The Sock"), John Amend, Steve (& Christine!), John Rolfe (& Kristen), Mark, Hanna, Tony, and James Behn. I have seen many parts of Italy with most of these people. My relationship with them is different than with "the guys" but no less important. I was the newcomer to their group and they welcomed me with open arms and all of them bring something to the table that I respect and admire. Again, I love them all. My life would not be complete without them.
If you are still reading this thank you for indulging me. This reminiscing has gone on longer than I expected but it only re-enforces what I have been saying all along about being 40 - my life has never been better than it is right this very moment.
Thank you all.


Blogger Summer Ryan Doyle said...

Sounds like you have lived a blessed 40 years--all the better because you're thankful for them. I hope I can say the same when I reach the "midway" point of life.

Now with the touchy-feely out of the way... you know a writer/producer of Firefly?!?!?!? ARG! My brain is a swirling mix of awe and jealous rage. ;)

1:46 PM, October 11, 2005  
Blogger Summer Ryan Doyle said...

P.S. Happy Birthday!!!

1:46 PM, October 11, 2005  
Blogger Andy said...

Thanks Summer! Don't you mean "Grr! Argh!"?
Ben is one of my best friends. Did you see "Serenity" yet?

2:47 PM, October 11, 2005  

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