I am now 41. This somehow feels more significant than the 40-year threshold. I know enough to avoid the fallacy of round numbers.

But, 41 is not a round number. So, now there is only the sense that “I am in my 40s.” If your 20s is all about finding your place in the adult world, learning all the traps adulthood has in store and how to navigate them. And your 30s is learning to manage actual affluence. Then, what is the 40s? Just more 30s with another 0 on the end? More health problems? Less energy?

Dad is so very good at being in his 30s. Will that happen to me? Or am I already good at my 40s? I’m saving for retirement, and that was always the dividing line. Why I said he was good at his 30s is 30s is the last time in life where it can still make sense to borrow against a brighter future. In your 40s, that has to be scaled back and inverted. The future is here. It gets darker from here on in.

You have to save. There is still time to build a comfy retirement.

I’m buying a house against the advice of my elders. I was right last time. Do I know something they don’t? Or am I taking a spin at a roulette wheel, convinced by one-win that I have a system?

It’s more frightening this time. The numbers involved are bigger. There are more adults and they are more sophisticated. But, I still have this sense that it reduces to a fallacy. People are too frightened and read nightmares into the most subtle omens.

I know a shack in the woods can be transformed into “home.” You almost cannot not do so. This is the harshness of renting: it is the landlord’s land, the landlord’s house, but the tenant’s home.

“It’s my life” in the end, but I don’t want to fall back on that lame old line. Better is the general’s speech in Babette’s Feast.

There are no wrong choices. Or, at least, the range of wrong choices is so much smaller than people believe. We torture ourselves over jobs, houses, schools, lovers. But every job becomes toil, every house becomes home, every lover the same-old-face woken up to in the morning. Less depends on schools in America than we tell our kids.

Decisions we ought to make with the excited glee of a kid in a candy store, we make in somber and serious tones, “for we have grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

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15 January 2022