I have been fortyfied. It happened a couple of weeks ago. Most of me was dreading it. But the day itself was great. It was lovely to be with people from all sorts of stages of my life. I had a childhood friend, two from Bangalore and and more recent friends. I enjoyed it muchly. I must say I’m thankful. I’m relatively healthy and fed. My children are too.

My dread of turning 40 is similar but different to others. I’m not that fearful of the aging process. I’m not fearful of death. My dread has to do with where I am now in comparison to my peers. Yes it is that comparison thing. My dread is essentially a marker of shame. For not having a job. For not owning a house. For holding on to addictive thought patterns that hold me down. Turning 40 has punctuated and affirmed this shame.

My being like what me is burdensome to others too. At 40 I would’ve liked to have been helping others and supporting others. Instead I’m the one being held. If there was a tangible reason for this then I could accept it but it all seems to stem from my poor, daily choices. My choices affect others, primarily my wife and children and I live with that shame every day. And yet, I don’t change. I remain the same, I whine without action.

I would have liked to have become a more mature and stable person in my forties. That seems simultaneously within my grasp and as far away as ever. I’m increasingly unsure of most things. Only my wife and children provide the reason for me to get out of bed in the mornings. There isn’t much else. But for now that’s what there is and that is what I hold on to. Maybe that’s what the 40s are about. Holding on.