If you should have the good fortune to live until you are forty years old, then you no doubt have a lot of junk that you collected in that time. It's not all junk. Some of it is useful, other pieces are precious to you, but most of it is just crap taking up space. This handy guide will help you make more room for the good things in life by getting rid of useless junk such as:
The importance of being special
Whether you acquired this as a child or picked it up in graduate school, you don't need it any more. By the time you turn forty, your hearing and eyesight have diminished beyond the point where you are likely to be special at anything. Your mind, solid though it may be, is probably not going to get any sharper. Let's face it, if you have been mingling with society for the last forty years, and nobody has given you a Nobel Prize yet, you are probably not going to be a genius.
This isn’t necessarily all bad. For one thing, you no longer have to waste time trying to convince people that you are a genius. You'd be surprised at how much free time this opens up in your day. Ultimately you will find acknowledging the fact that you are never going to be the best piano player/guitar player/etc., will help you to appreciate the sound of your own music a great deal more.
The need to be right
Forty is a good point in your life to reflect upon the fact that you have been wrong about a great many more things than you have ever been right about. Not counting the time you toyed with the idea of joining [insert ridiculous wacked out cult name here] or that year when you voted libertarian, there are the myriad things about which you are wrong every day (“This way is faster”, “I’m sure it won’t rain today”, or “I guess I could give you a ride.”) We go through life like pinballs bouncing off our failures and bad decisions, which propel us ever deeper into the game. You’re going to be wrong either way, so you might as well live with it. Besides, only geniuses are right about everything, and you’re not one of those, remember.
I have noticed that some of you persist in believing yourselves generally right about things in spite of the above evidence. Let me direct you to the words of Robert Wilson, who wrote “If you think you know what you’re talking about, you’re probably full of shit.” Mr. Wilson is expressing, in his own way, the idea that knowledge is hard to come by and certain knowledge of anything is a rare occurrence indeed. People who refuse to admit this are generally still fixated on the need to be special.
The need to look good
Being a bachelor, I could be a little off on this one. I suppose married couples need to remain at least moderately attractive to one another if they want to keep the spark alive. Yet, studies have shown that happy couples get fat. The fact of the matter is that nobody looks good at forty. If you claim that somebody over forty looks good, you are really saying that they don’t look like they are forty yet. If they did look like they were forty, you wouldn’t say anything at all. You would just bow your head and try not to look at the walking ruin as it shuffled by.
So if you are forty, or you look like you are, relax. Nobody expects you to look good. Nobody expects you to act cool. You are no longer burdened with the responsibility of being special. You want to obsess over your dogs in public? Go ahead, you’re forty. You want to walk around the block every morning in a bathrobe? You’re forty, who cares? Do you like cake? Have some cake. Have two helpings. Have all the goddamned cake you want.