On turning 40

I turned 40 today. Halfway mark, they say… Nothing feels special or different though!

If I take after two of my grandparents, I am in for another 40. Body protests, mind groans, heart sighs: “Can’t face another forty, please! Not in this life.”

If I take after the other two, I am not. If that is the case, I am in for a slow, painful death by cancer. Body, mind and heart shudder collectively.

Life begins at 40 – but so do fallen arches, rheumatism, faulty eyesight, and the tendency to tell a story to the same person, three or four times. – Helen Rowland

Well, I am not talking of the lifetime of Brahma — 40 billion years. So don’t worry, I tell them.

A Christian friend sent a mail:  Forty is the number of probation, testing and trial. The significance of forty is seen throughout the Bible.

  • Moses was forty years old when he fled from Egypt. He was on probation for forty years while on the mountain, tending sheep. He led the Israelites through the wilderness forty years. Moses’ life was divided into three distinct periods of forty years each. Moses received the Ten Commandments from God after spending forty days on Mount Sinai. When he broke the tablets, he returned for another forty day period.
  • Saul, the first king of Israel was on probation for forty years. He proved himself unworthy. He, his servant and his three sons all died on Mt. Gilboa after Saul had reigned forty years. He left no descendants on the throne.
  • It rained forty days and forty nights after Noah and his family were safe inside the ark. It took that long for God to purge the earth of sin.
  • The twelve spies were in the land forty days.
  • God told Ezekiel to lie on his side forty days to symbolize the punishment of Judah.
  • King David who ruled for 40 years, as did his son Solomon.
  • Jonah’s prophecy was that in 40 days Nineveh would be destroyed, thus giving them time to prepare and repent.
  • Elijah fasted for forty days while he was hiding from Jezebel.
  • Forty centuries after Adam, Jesus came in the fullness of time.
  • Jesus fasted forty days before starting His ministry.
  • After His resurrection, he walked the face of the earth before ascending to His Father. Forty days after Jesus’ crucifixion, Jerusalem was destroyed.

I replied to her: “Well, I have been experiencing trials since I was 21. And, in Jewish tradition, the Rabbis considered 40 years a notable length of time to study Torah. In Hinduism, some popular religious prayers consist of forty shlokas or dohas (couplets, stanzas) – remember the Hanuman Chalisa (chaalis is Hindi for 40). If you check the Wikipedia page, you’ll see even more interesting things!”

Some told me to ‘live it up’ while others wanted me to ‘live it down’. It has been an uphill journey till here. I don’t expect it to get any better further on. It is most probably going to go downhill from here.

Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed. – Charles M. Schultz

Some told me to take stock, recharge and face life with a smile. I thought I was doing that already! I don’t understand why people refer to ‘facing life’ as though facing a pride of hungry lions. Granted, it is tough sometimes.

Some, who know me really well, asked me to enjoy this day. A dear friend posted this for me; another sent me two wonderful books, which you can see on my Shelfari; my family gave me beautiful gifts. And, I posted this on the occasion.

Thanks to everyone for remembering me and taking some time to write/call/text me and sending me presents. Muchas gracias!

I’m not 40, I’m eighteen with 22 years experience.

LEARNING WITH THOUGHT; THOUGHT WITH LEARNING