I knew it had to happen. It was only a matter of time. This morning, I received a '...so, it's coming up soon. The Big 4-0. How does it feel?' Not bad at all, to be honest.
Ten years ago, I approached the end of my 20's with a mix of fear and intimidation. No longer could I pretend to be 'young'. I had moved up the generation ladder and had to accept that I was a grown-up. Life was over!
As I face the beginning of The Mountain of Lifes Ultimate Peak/It's All Downhill From Here/Greying Temples/Wrinkles/The Music's Too Loud/These Little Blue Pills are Great years, I do so sans hesitation or dread.
Curiously, I find myself in somewhat of a retrospective mood. My first 40 has seen some interesting moments in history. Consider:
- I was fortunate enough to have experienced the Ronald Reagan presidency from start to finish. Considered by many to be one of the greatest leaders in history, he formed my impression as to what a president should be. Reagan raised the standard to such heights that no one who has followed his path to the Oval Office has come anywhere close to matching.
- I witnessed the Berlin Wall come down (albeit on television), and eventually with it the Cold War. Odd, but I now find myself remembering that particular issue with fondness. There was something comforting about knowing who your enemies were, where they were, and what weapons they used.
- Only with the assistance of time can I accept the truth that I had a front row seat to watch the greatest hockey player of all time. During the best part of his career - spent with the Edmonton Oilers, arch-enemies to my provincial rival Calgary Flames - Wayne Gretzky was the bane of my existence. I downright hated him. The best player in the world playing for THAT team? The day he was traded sold to Los Angeles, everyone in Canada was in a state of shock. The difference was, in Calgary we were also giggling. It is no coincidence that the Flames won their only Stanley Cup the next year. Now, in retrospect, I will admit it: he was The Great One.
- Alberta has been ruled by conservatives my entire life. Born at the end of the Social Credit era and raised in a Progressive Conservative province, I spent enjoyed some incredible experiences with the P.C.s. From the day as a child when I got the chance to sit in Peter Lougheed's chair in the Premier's Office, through the glorious Ralph Klein years, to the many P.C. election campaigns that I was involved in, to the experience of the P.C.s turning their back on conservatism and traditional Albertan values, to helping the formation the next great conservative dynasty - the Wildrose Alliance, I have been more than fortunate.
Now, as I enter the Back 9, there are things I would never have believed years ago. The American President is a socialist (I know what you thought I was going to say. Shame on you!). Canada is enjoying a multi-year Conservative federal government. The mass media, and a huge portion of the general public, is siding with the forces of terror over democracies such as Israel. China has a booming economy. Parts of Europe - not North America - are waking up to the reality and dangers of Islam and unfettered immigration, and has begun to put the safety of its citizens ahead of pollitical-correctness. Keith Richards is still alive.
While I hold out hope that the U.S. will somehow give the world another Gipper, or that England will produce another Margaret Thatcher, or that the citizens of the free world will stop following red herrings like environmentalism and instead focus on the real issues, the truth is that history never repeats. We can only learn from the past and use that knowledge to create the icons of the future.
You can bet I'll be ranting on them.
So, how does it feel to be facing 40? Pretty damn good, all things considered.