You are handed a knife, some rope, and three Tootsie Rolls and are dropped off in a vast swath of forest outside your hometown.
“I’ll pick you up right here in two days,” your father says and then starts the four-mile trek back through the forest to where he has parked his truck at the end of the dirt road. He leaves you alone.
You look toward your right and see what appears to have once been a path; you look left and see a continual slight incline, which may lead you to a vantage point. You look straight ahead and know you would only have to run a little while before catching up with your father who would take you home. Which path do you take? Right? Left? Straight Ahead?
I used to love Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was young. And even now, whenever I am in my parents’ attic, I inevitably end up at the old box of my childhood Choose Your Own Adventure books where I start to read at least one book and continue until I’ve read at least a couple of endings. More often than not though, I read all the endings, even though 1) I’m an adult now, and the language is far below my reading level and 2) I’ve already read them all at least fifty times each.
I like being in situations where you have to make the best decision based on what you have and what your choices are at that moment. Such is life, right? And that is why turning 40 is not scary: Choose Your Own Adventure books prepped me for turning 40 at an age when I viewed 40-year-olds as ancient beings who were nearing senility. The Cave of Time is just the beginning.
A couple of my friends have confessed to me that their impending big 4-0 birthday frightens them already. They want me to tell them it’s going to be okay, that 40 is lovely and with a mild temperament. She certainly can be.
Or she can be a pathological liar with a mean-girl streak. It’s really up to you. And although you sometimes can’t go back to that choice on that page that you’re holding with your thumb, you can always create another choice. It’s ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ with a ‘Write Your Own Choice’ option. Another reason to embrace turning 40: better writing skills.
To my friends suffering slight discomfort at the sound of their 30’s quietly exiting the room, think of this: 40 means more pages in the continuing story of a ‘Write Your Own Adventure’ book. As long as you’re writing a story that you would want to read later, then don’t care about any number. If Choose Your Own Adventure books can reinvent page numbers, then certainly you can reinvent one number.
These things are 40:
|Photo courtesy of The Telegraph|
|Both this statue and I are 40. Really!|