The title was to get your attention.
BUT since you’re here already…
Yesterday marked 60 days until my 40th birthday. I’m 40…FUCKIN’ 40!
Birthdays are extra special for me. I celebrate for an entire week. That week is all mine no matter what you think or say. I’m never wrong that week, I don’t apologize for shit, I want and get my way as much as possible.
Breakfast in bed? Yes, please; even if I have to make it myself and crawl my lazy ass back under the covers. If I didn’t have to work I’d be home naked as the day I was born…ALL DAY! The other 358 days of the year I’m the guy you know and…probably love.
Why is this?
I wasn’t supposed to make it past 25 (jokes on you we still alive…Yeezy…what happened to Yeezy?). At least that’s what they told us in elementary and high school growing up Black in the hood. I would hear that all the time. Even though I wasn’t that kid there’s a part of you that believes it, holds on to it and you either try to ignore it or fall victim to it.
I can remember in my afterschool program they took us to Passaic County jail and we sat in a room with men in orange jump suits who were incarcerated for various reasons. It was what you would imagine, them putting on a show of intimidation trying to scare you straight. My problem was that I wasn’t crooked to begin with. So when they got up in my face about staying in school and not doing drugs or “you’ll end up just like me” I was thinking…
Nigga, what the fuck are you talking about?! I got straight A’s bitch! I have parents that love me so much they each have 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. Ain’t no fuckin’ way I’m gonna be like you! Stop dreamin’!!
The people around you, who you associate with, your support system, the environment you grow up in are all factors in whether or not that statistic bears true for you. Coupled with the fact that our society, with its ever-present insatiable hunger to consume the Black body, is actively looking to end your life by putting you behind bars, controlling you at the ballot, or erasing you entirely by the bullet; there’s no wonder so many of us fall victim to this mindset.
You then take that poisonous mentality and formulate a life that leads you to that dismal outcome. If you don’t already know it, what you think often becomes your reality. I know that what I take in and internalize are the ingredients to the life I live. I can only imagine what limits I placed on myself because I was preoccupied with making it past 25. What would it have been like to not have that worry? I definitely would have taken more chances and had more experiences in spaces and with people who I thought were threats to my existence. I would have trusted more and allowed myself new and better experiences.
With age comes wisdom and the precious gift of hindsight. If I had it to do all over again I wouldn’t have listened to my parents (sorry Mom and Dad). After all, they were just trying to figure it all out themselves as immigrants in this fucked up country. College would have taken a back seat; sure I would have went…eventually, but I would have made my money first. As a matter of fact I only chose college because I got a free ride. Otherwise, I would have went to the Naval Academy and gone through SEAL training. That option terrified my mom, but I was assured by the recruiter who hounded me non stop and even showed up in my AP classes, that because I was a smart kid and did really well on their test that I would have enlisted as an officer…no problem. I even went on the tour in Annapolis, but there wasn’t any “free pussy” waiting for me there like he said there would be…deal breaker.
I would have followed my true passions and not be swayed by that ugly sweater-wearing, pudding pop eating asshole to pursue medicine! I would’ve probably fallen deeper into video games, computers, taking shit apart to see how they worked, art, poetry.
I see that in my kids; Ben loves video games, but really doesn’t care how it all works just yet. Ava is a true artist and makes something out of nothing. She even scouts materials we throw out and stores them for future projects. Its amazing. I truly hope they keep that and if they do lose interest in those things it won’t be because of me.
Forty…fucking 40! It’s always portrayed as some evil thing lurking in the dark with duct tape, lube and a banana. I guess that’s because people often associate it with being the half way mark in your life, but because 12 or 13 was always my half way mark 40 is not a big deal. I’m ecstatic. I embrace that shit. If 40 was a woman I’d pull a Drake and have a kid somewhere out there and be divorced. Well, more like dead…my wife loves me that much, she probably thought about killing me today (Yeezy!).
That’s it. I just felt like writing this and sharing it. Maybe it will help someone else out there.