On Turning 40

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About Professor Pinch

Professor Pinch is a man of mystery. No, not really. He just wants to enjoy a good beer, a good cigar, a decent meal with his family, a video game that won't give him carpal tunnel ("No, the move sequence is X, X, Y, B, A, R1, R2, L1 then press down on both joysticks").

A regular contributor at Minyanville.com, he writes about macroeconomics and investing. Which is good, because he has a degree in economics from the University of Maryland. Just don't mention the name Christian Laettner in his presence.

He lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife and son.


  1. wellokaythen says:

    A lot of men in their 40’s, like myself, actually went through an existential crisis about aging in the years before reaching 40, not on our 40th birthday. The most common time people panic about reaching 40 is when they’re 37 or 38. I hardly noticed turning 40, because I got all that angst out of the way two years earlier. By the time I turned 40, I was so tired of feeling depressed about the things I had left to do in life that I couldn’t give that any more energy. By the time I turned 40, I had already been done worrying about turning 40 for about a year and a half.

    (Even more remarkably, I was a late bloomer, and I’m naturally a procrastinator. Doing anything earlier than I have to is an extraordinary thing for me.)

    I’m not saying that’s a good way to deal with aging. I’m just saying that when people flip out over turning 40, it’s not necessarily at the moment they turn 40.

    If you’re in your early thirties, watch out for a “turning 40 crisis” at 37/38. It’s closer than you think. (I get to cackle about things like that because I’m an old man.)

  2. 40+ is PRIME OF YOUR LIFE. Wasn’t your 20′s or 30′s. Surprise! Now, go enjoy. The best is yet to come.

  3. As an early Gen X’er (born in 1966) I grew up surrounded by Baby Boomers longing for the ’60′s and what it was to be young in the ’60′s (the music, the drugs, the politics, the protests, all the countercultual ferment). It’s funny to me because I feel no nostalgia for the ’80′s or ’90′s. Sure, I liked some of the music and sonetimes I turn on the ’80′s station on my satellite radio. But honestly I can barely remember what it was “like” to be a young person in that era. If I think anout it, I’m like, yeah, I guess we had the PC computer revolution and stuff, and that was kinda cool, but I don’t need to relive it.

    I was happy to turn 40 because I could finally stop worrying about turning 40. It was a relief.

  4. I’m a late boomer. A few years ago, I was in my late 40′s, and got a new coworker, who had just turned 20. He was a very angry young man, at least where I was concerned. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I’d done to rub him the wrong way. I live in a college town, so many of my coworkers and customers are in their early twenties. I’ve been told that I’m pretty cool for a old guy (although the line between “distingushed older gentleman” and “cranky old fart” is a thin one, and getting thinner every year).

    The rude comments and snide remarks went on until I could stand it no longer, and I confronted him. I’m a pretty big guy, and can be intimidating when necessary. It’s a power I use sparingly, and for good, rather than evil. But I wanted answers, dammit. He obliged.

    He went off on a rant you wouldn’t believe. It was at times meandering and contradictory, but there was one theme. Baby boomers were responsible for all the worlds’ ills. In some respects, he was right. I did the same thing at his age. However, the differences between me, and my parents generation were much wider than those of his generation and mine. (Now, it’s OK for old people to be cool.)

    I explained that the problems he was citing existed long before either one of us. “You don’t like the world”, I said, “Change it. But blaming everyone my age is somewhat less than productive.” Did we make mistakes? Of course. It’s what humans do. Anyone who gets through life without regret, hasn’t actually lived.

    I don’t know if I was able to get through. He was, however, much more polite after that.

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