A 41 Year Old Says What

A 41 year old says what?

I guess they say that.

41. What a number. It’s not my birthday or anything. I’m just thinking about being 41 this week. That’s a very adult age to be.

I’ll be 42 in June. God willing and the creek don’t rise. God willing and the creek don’t rise is a time honored idiom. It’s also the title to a fantastic Iron and Wine album from like 20 years ago. Back before I was 41.

I’m less self-conscious at 41. I haven’t been all that self-conscious for a while. I was super insecure as a kid. Awkward. Funny looking. That sort of left me in my twenties. And then twenty years of teaching high school, doing improv, and being a professor happened. And now I don’t feel self-conscious in social situations. I’ve had countless hours (and years) to practice being with people. In front of people. In classrooms or on stages. So I’m relaxed with attention. And growing more relaxed with it. I don’t know if that is a good thing.

I’m 41. I’m really starting not to care what others think of me.


“Stop it, Dad!”

We were in Target. I was doing something stupid. Or silly. To make my children laugh. And Solomon was horrified.

“You’re embarrassing me,” he said.

“Come on,” I replied, “nobody is looking.”

“But they might,” he worried.

“Even if they do, Solomon. I promise you we are cooler than them.”

We are. Pretty cool, that is.

Solomon rolled his eyes at me.

I get it. I was always worried about what others were thinking when I was a kid too. But I had good reason to worry. My family was something of a spectacle. Unlike this iteration of the Tanner family. Circa 2022. I’m one cool dude.

At least I think I am. At 41. And I’m not too worried if others don’t agree.


I imagine this beautiful body will start to break down at the end of my forties. And into my fifties. Gray hairs. Balding. Droopy skin. Wrinkles and warts and whatnot.

Winkles and warts and whatnot is a great title. Title for what? I have no idea.

Let age come. Let it do to my body what it will. I’ve lived long enough to stop being so nervous about what others think. Will such a mindset embarrass my children? I have to imagine that it will. Oh well. Embarrassment builds character. Maybe?

So that’s what a 41 year old says this week. Or writes.

My advisor in graduate school hated when people used the word said to describe what somebody else had written. Because they didn’t say it. They wrote it.

So that’s what I wrote this week.

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