So, Kahn Morbee from the Parlotones turned 40 in 2018. I learnt this bit of trivia earlier this month, when SalusaTM co-sponsored the Harties Unite Rock Fest in Hartbeespoortdam, an event headlined by the Parlotones. Learning this did not make me feel particularly old or anything, it just made me think of the interesting things I noticed about myself when I celebrated my own 40th a few years ago.
Speaking in passing to friends and colleagues of the same generation I also realised that most of us experienced similar quirks around hitting the big four oh. I duly made a list:
On the morning of your 40th birthday, your 10-year old daughter sticks her hand-made birthday card in your face. And you can’t read it. It doesn’t matter how far you hold the card from your eyes, it just doesn’t seem to get into focus. Once a month my friend Burt confesses to shoplifting at his local Dischem when he returns a pair of +1.00 reading glasses inadvertently left on his head after he borrowed it from the shelf to be able to read the stupidly small print list of ingredients on product packaging.
What the hell? Everyone around you including shrill Suzie in Accounting stopped enunciating properly. You start saying “Huh?”, “What?” and “Excuse me?” far more often than before. Their mouths move, you hear the noise, but the words make no sense.
When did pop music become so horrifically rubbish? Why does the lyrics make no sense? Do these people even speak English? How can a 3-chord song last 4 minutes? Where’s the guitars?
Between trucks and outannies lumbering in the fast lane at 50 in a 120 zone and silly kids with wraparound sunglasses in Polos going flatout, swerving and bobbing through traffic like a drunken Rocky Balboa you are amazed that you survive the daily ordeal. Luckily, you’ve outgrown road rage, but the murderous thoughts could consume you if exasperated by Justine Beaver’s latest hit on the car radio.
Your patience for bull-dust evaporates completely. You spot nonsense, deception and insincerity a mile away. At the same time, you seem to have all the time in the world for children, the elderly and other people visibly doing their best. I think it’s called empathy. Or something.
A few days ago you were still convincing yourself that you’ll sleep when you’re dead. Then, one weekend after lunch you take the plunge and curl up with a book in your bed with the curtains drawn. Oh, the bliss! What was a punishment as a child becomes a blessed reward.
You make peace with the fact that you are not going to look like the photoshopped cover models, ever. But you also do not want to huff like a steam train after dragging your dad-bod up 3 flights of stairs anymore. So you get more active, eat better and actually (who knew?) enjoy it. You might even take up a new sport like mountain biking or yoga. You buy SalusaTM at your local pharmacy without feeling the embarrassing need to hide it like a teenager buying condoms.