40 Is The New 20
My mom and dad came to New York City from Italy as teens, got married at 19, and started making babies at 20. It was a different time. That was the norm. Most dads went out and busted their asses all day, and most moms busted theirs at home with the kids and the household. It was a way more physical era. Unless you were fortunate to have some cushy job behind a desk, or had some family wealth that could afford you to have servants, most men likely came home dirty every day to a tired wife and kids. Today, almost no one is digging ditches anymore. We have machines for that, and for almost every other arduous task. Today, most people are sitting behind a computer all day eating organic fruit in their flip flops/sandals with the AC on, including myself (minus the flip flops). We now have knowledge, medicine, and technology we didn’t have years ago. Overall, it’s an easier life. Back then, your body took a beating on a daily basis, hence, needing to start that family and grow up quickly at a young age, while your body is strong and can take the stress the world puts on it. At least that’s my theory. Today, an undemanding upbringing coupled with safer conditions for having children later in life, makes being 40 feel a lot younger.
If you were a cool 20 year old 20 years ago, you’re the expert in ‘cool’ now that you’re 40.
But let’s forget about the physical aspect of being older for a moment, and let’s talk about our behavior at that older age. I’m a big believer in mind over body. We all know both are connected. If we keep our minds young, our bodies follow. Having my kids later in life helped keep me in that young mindset. I feel that if I had my kids when I was
still a kid myself, I’d feel a bit cheated. But now, in my 40’s, my kids are my fountain of youth. I get to relive my childhood all over again and the memories excite me, which in turn excites my kids. I get to color in coloring books each morning, watch Spongebob episodes at anytime of the day, climb on every jungle gym in every park we pass, and skip down Main Street in Disney World while singing the song from the movie Frozen, without feeling weird about it. That’s the beauty of having kids. My inner child gets to shine for another 20-30 years (and 20-30 more after that with my grandkids).
I never understood, and still don’t understand, parents that feel the need to act old, or what they consider mature, when I know they wish they could use
the water slide instead of taking the steps to get into the pool. Maintaining a young mental state puts me in the same running as a 20 year old. I find that, in pursuing any creative field as a career, it is 100% easier at 40 than at 20, if at 40 you can keep your head young. Not only does a 40 year old probably have more field experience, but they have more life experience and are generally wiser, which is key. In this world of ‘what comes around, goes around’, all those cool comics I studied, BMX bikes I built and rode, graffiti I wrote, breakdance moves I mastered, Anne Rice vampire chronicles I read, etc... Are all the things that young kids and big companies (paying big bucks) are into right now. The shit in the 80’s when I was a teen turning 20, are the things the kids are stealing from or trying to perfect today. Maybe it’s all about timing, and this happens every 20-30 years and I ideally fell into that cycle, but I feel that if you were a cool 20 year old 20 years ago, you’re the expert in cool now that you’re 40.
I was never afraid of getting old. If you act young, you feel young. Me, personally, other than not partying and traveling as much, I still live the same life. I haven’t really changed much. I walk the same. I talk the same. And I have all of the same interests (I stick with what I know best). My back may hurt a bit more, and I may have a few grey hairs (and a little less hair in general), but that doesn’t stop me from indulging in the things I dug when I was a teenager. How do people just abandon certain passions they had in their younger years so easily? Doing what you love, and being happy, is the secret to feeling and staying young.
It’s the new millennium and we don’t have to grow up as quickly. We’re smarter, healthier, less beaten down by life, and we statistically live longer than our ancestors. These days, we age better. Trust me. At 43, ain’t no 20 year old that has shit on me.
Words: Tony Arcabascio
Photo: Ricky Powell
Model: Erica Stenberg
[1,72 cm tall, wearing mens L]