We haven't talked about me turning 40 in a while. I've kept the volume down on that freak out. And now my birthday is less than two weeks away. I'm feeling more solid about it all. I think things like, I know when I'm turning 50 I'll long for 40 so just love 40! It takes hard work and deep introspection to truly believe that horseshit. That type of saying is fluffy rhetoric, really, but I'm absorbing it, man; letting it be.
40 was hard for me because I've always felt like the secret golden child, an infant old soul, a baby genius that has lurked in the shadows of others; always waiting for my own time. In most ways I feel developed and whole and practically me and in many ways I'm still waiting. The patience has betrayed me. The patience is a mossy rock in a downhill brook. Time is a-rushing. I'm pressed with an urgency realizing that a golden child doesn't get plucked and praised (oooh movies and books can be a cruel expectation builder). The window feels nearly closed. At forty I feel like I'm flirting on the outskirts of ordinary. When I was younger I felt sparked and humming with greatness, untouchable as craziness swarmed around me. I felt then that at any time I was going to jump ship and swim to brilliance. And now I feel seasoned and grounded weighted by a familiar self-imposed patience that is snuffing out the spark. The shore looks pretty distant now. This is how forty has felt to me.
So I decided to have a party on my birthday, August 24th. A party planned exactly the way I would plan a party. A big blow out. A coming out. I'm giving myself a Cuarentañera. I'll be coming of age at 40, I've decided. It's the year I'll drop kick some stale, useless patience. The party is going to be held in a big banquet hall where vegan appetizers and a vegan three tiered cake will be served and a salsa DJ will spin my favorite hits from the early 80's: Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, Hector Lavoe, Ruben Blades, El Gran Combo. And the party is prom-themed. I've told my friends they have to dress in prom gear from any era, any interpretation. I've hired a photographer to take our posed prom pictures. I'm going with a contemporary 50's look. I can't wait.
I have to admit that the Quinceañera spin on a forty year old's party is not my idea. My good friend Rebel Girl came up with the Cuarentañera idea years ago. But her 40th came and went without a peep of a celebration. I gladly steel it. I'll knock it out of the park for all forty year olds -- anyone really -- just coming of age, shirking ordinary, dog paddling an ocean back something interesting and true.
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