You know what I'm really excited about? Turning 40! The Big Four-Oh. I've got one hell of a landmark birthday coming up, and I'm pumped! I may have spent these past 39 years meandering through life, focused only on petty concerns, without any direction or drive, but not anymore. My unremarkable childhood, my awkward adolescence, my purposeless teens through early 30s—it's all been leading up to this. So look out world, because for the second half of my life, I'm going to rock out like a motherfucker!

Once I hit 40, man, there's going to be no stopping me. Soon as the big birthday rolls around, I'm planning on starting that novel, opening my long-dreamed-of record store, and finally breaking into the experimental underground film scene. By the time I'm 43, I wouldn't be surprised if I'm the hippest person I know. Hey—I've got a steady paycheck coming in, so there's no reason to put off being kick-ass any longer.

No chance I'm spending the last 50 percent of my life as a lame-o.

It's natural, at my age, to doubt yourself. But that's no kind of an attitude to have, dude! Sure, I've tried to rock for 39 years and I've failed. But I can't let myself quit now! This is my chance to finally achieve all the dreams I've spent more than three dozen years accruing.

This could be the decade!

As long as I stay focused on my original goal, established at age 12, of having a rocking life, the sky's the limit. Sure, I haven't managed to achieve anything so far. Fair enough. But the way I figure it, I can either let myself get depressed about that fact like I did when I turned 18, 21, 25, 30, 35, and 39, or I can choose to look at this as an opportunity. An opportunity to rock!

After all, who says just because the first four decades of a person's life were totally square that the rest of his life has to be boring, too?

Man, after 40 years of saving it up, can you imagine how hard I'm going to rock? I've already started growing some totally bitching, long flowing hair, just like I always wanted. Now I have to find some cool shades and jeans, and once I've got the look and maybe a sweet hog to ride, it's going to be hot chick city for this middle-aged Gen Xer. No more double dates with my sister-in-law's single friends.

And you can bet your ass that as soon as I find a reputable establishment, I'm going to overcome my shyness and get that badass flaming-skull forearm tattoo I sketched out in the 11th grade.

Maybe I'll spend my birthday day fixing up that rad Camaro that's been sitting on blocks behind Dad's garage since 1986. And now that there's no stodgy-ass adults telling me I can't put that awesome tape deck and killer Panasonic sound system in it, I can blare loud rocking tunes as I cruise down the street, turning heads and moistening panties. The fact that it's taken 22 years to do might be a blessing in disguise, because with the advanced new speakers they have now, I bet cranking the bitchin' tunes will be more satisfying than ever.

Sure, I've had setbacks. Getting assigned clarinet instead of the drums in eighth-grade band. Never really fitting in in high school. Spending too much time at the library in college instead of sneaking onto the roof of the student union to get high. Never following through on those Ozzy tickets I considered buying myself for my 35th birthday. All my life, I've felt stifled, incomplete, unable to truly rock out.

But all that ends now! Fifth decade's the charm!

Because facing a birthday like this one puts things in perspective. You reassess what's truly important and you start to ask yourself the big questions: Like, will I ever really be able to pull off the leather pants look? What's it going to be like once I'm finally one of the "cool kids"? Do I really have it in me to someday achieve the confidence, self-esteem, and sex appeal necessary to be the wicked party monster I've always known, deep down, I could be?

So who gives a shit that I've never skinny-dipped with naked hippie chicks, or won a battle of the bands, or been photographed with all the hottest up-and-coming celebrities, or learned to dance or light a cigarette in any kind of cool way? I just had my yearly physical, and according to the results of my blood work and stress test, I've got years ahead of me. If I watch my cholesterol and add 30 minutes of walking into my daily routine, I'll be rocking well into my 90s.

I can do anything I want as long as I don't give up on 30 years of pent-up dreams. Just because I've never road-tripped to Daytona Beach for a drunken spree of anything-goes Spring Break bacchanalia doesn't mean it's never going to happen, right? If at first you don't succeed, rock, rock again!

I'm almost 40 years old, and it's time to rock!

It's never too late!