40 is the new 30

While listening to a frothy NPR interview this weekend, I heard the interviewer bubble: “Well, you know what they say, 40 is the new 30!” Well, I didn‘t know they said that, but that’s probably because both 30 and 40 are well back in my rear-view mirror. I’m not sure what it means. Does this mean you can now trust people who are 39? Does it mean you can now live at home sponging off Mom and Dad for an additional decade? I suppose I noticed because I’m at one of those dramatic highly significant crossroads in life that impending decades represent: I’m 59, and you know what comes next. Every cell in my body and brain will change, I’m sure, and I will be OLD. These transitions are all in the anticipation, the stress of their inevitable approach. I’ve probably never been older than when I was 29 for one endless year, my trustworthiness oozing out of me like sap. Decades are a big stressful deal, so I have a modest proposal. It’s all because we have a 10-based number system, which I dare to assert is because we have ten digits on our hands. What if we were to initiate a widespread genetic engineering program whereby future generation would be born with 12 or 14 digits? Hell, let’s make it 20. There would be a transistion period, of course. It would be a rough time to be a math teacher, but the results would be worth it. 40 could be the new 20. And most important, we wouldn’t have to go through these life changing transitions so often. We’d have twice as long to rest up between crises. The secondary benefits would be immense. Jazz piano, for example, would be utterly transformed. It would bring on a new digital age. It’s too late for me—I’m already OLD—but it could offer hope to future aging generations.

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